Men’s Basketball takes overtime thriller versus Fairmont State 110-107

For the fifth straight year, the West Liberty University (WLU) Men’s Basketball team are Mountain East Conference Champions. The incredible feat, one in which has stemmed back since 2018, has seen some of the best Hilltopper teams to date. However, this Hilltopper team, a squad that currently sits at second in the nation, looks to finish off the 2021-22 campaign strong and are expected to make a deep tournament run into March.

Coming off a very strong 114-76 victory over Frostburg State University at the West Liberty ASRC on February 19, the black and gold traveled down to Fairmont State University to seek revenge on a prior defeat earlier this season to the Falcons. At the time, this contest in particular was one in which was highly anticipated, featuring two MEC Top-25 teams. For West Liberty, the game began with a fifteen point lead into the locker room at halftime. West Liberty held an impressive 77-58 lead with thirteen minutes left in the game. However, Fairmont State began to finally hit their mark, and came storming back in surprising fashion to stun and ultimately upset West Liberty. Much like a couple opponents West Liberty has faced in close games this year, Fairmont State shot an incredible 63% clip from the floor in the second half of the game. With over six out of 10 shots finding their way for a score, West Liberty saw a massive lead slip from their fingers.

It was a difficult result to deal with for sure, but this loss only continued to fuel the fire that has resulted in the development of one of the best NCAA Division II basketball teams in the country. After this game, the Hilltoppers went on to win 10 straight games, including 20 of their last 21.

It was yet another Top-25 MEC matchup for both West Liberty and Fairmont State, and the Hilltoppers came out firing right out of the gate, taking a thirteen point lead into the half. The Falcons came storming back to tie the game in the second half, and even regain the lead. With about 46 seconds left in the contest, Fairmont saw themselves clinging onto a one point lead by the score of 94-93. However, after both teams eventually exchanged free throws, including a technical foul being assessed to West Liberty, the game was tied and sent into overtime. In overtime, West Liberty put in the work, and was able to escape a horrific last ditch effort from Fairmont to escape with the victory. Bryce Butler led all scorers with a staggering 30 points (14-19 shooting). Alongside him was Pat Robinson’s 25 points and Marlon Moore’s 18 points.

With two games remaining, West Liberty will be looking to seek revenge on Notre Dame College (Ohio), a team that previously upset the black and gold by a 82-81 final early in the season on Nov. 23. To finish the season, a contest against arch-rival Wheeling will be played, leading the team into the MEC Tournament.