Toppers take on Fairmont in their 173rd meeting

By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
The West Liberty University men’s basketball team will travel this weekend to Fairmont, W.Va. to take on the Fairmont State Fighting Falcons in a Mountain East Conference (MEC) match-up.
As of Jan. 21, the Hilltoppers are sporting a 17-0 overall record and a 12-0 record in conference games, and the Falcons have a 14-4 overall record and a 10-2 record in conference games, with their losses coming against West Virginia State and the Hilltoppers earlier in the season by a score of 100-106.

These two teams faced off on Dec. 9 at West Liberty. In this close game, senior guard Dan Monteroso stepped up and put 27 points on the board to lead all scorers, and three other Hilltoppers were in double figures to lead West Liberty to victory. The team had an above average shooting night, except from the behind the three point arc, where they shot just above 30 percent. Junior forward Eric Meininger pulled in eight rebounds to go with his 18 points. Six players for the Falcons scored double figures with four players, bringing in six rebounds or more. 
On the Fairmont State side, there are a few players to watch for as they enter their twentieth game of the season. Junior point guard Jason Jolly has started all but one game this season, and he is averaging over 15 points and four assists per game. Jolly had 19 points and six assists in this season’s first match-up against the Hilltoppers.  Averaging 12 points with five and a half rebounds per game is junior guard Vonte Montgomery. In 24 minutes, Montgomery was able to score 17 points and bring in nine rebounds. 
This will be the 173rd meeting between these historic rivals, with Fairmont holding a commanding lead in the series with 94 wins. West Liberty took two of three last year, including a 67-65 victory in the MEC Tournament championship game
The Hilltoppers are coming off of a huge win against rival Wheeling Jesuit by a score of 81-78. Redshirt freshman Dalton Bolon lead the offensive charge with 19 points, and on defense, he was able to grab seven rebounds, which tied him with Meininger for the team lead. 
West Liberty had a commanding lead in the second half, but after an impressive run, Jesuit was able to claw their way back into the game with just minutes left. Bolon came up with a clutch steal with seconds remaining to put the game on ice and give the Hilltoppers the victory to remain unbeaten. 
Tip-off on Sunday is at 5 p.m. and it will be televised  throughout the local area on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
Be sure to grab next week’s issue of the Trumpet for more game previews and player profiles.
Photo Credit: