CHARLESTON - A second-half comeback came up short for No. 1-ranked West Liberty on Monday night as Charleston held on to hand the Hilltoppers their first loss, 101-96, at a jam-packed Eddie King Gym.
Charity certainly began at home for the Golden Eagles (12-2 overall, 8-2 WVC), who took advantage of a league season-high 40 of 55 showing from the foul line to hand West Liberty (14-1, 8-1) its second loss in its last 70 conference games.
The Hilltoppers trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half and seemed dead in the water when Evan Faulkner hit the second of two free throws for a 99-93 Charleston lead with 19 seconds remaining.
But Alex Falk answered with a quick 3-pointer from the top of the key, cutting the gap to 99-96, and Faulkner was fouled on the in-bounds pass to stop the clock with eight seconds left.
Faulkner missed both free throws, giving West Liberty a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer, but UC fouled Bubby Goodwin before he could cross midcourt.
After Goodwin missed the front end of the 1-and-1, UC's Robbie Dreher won the rebounding battle and hit two more free throws to set the final margin.
C.J. Hester had a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Hilltoppers while Falk finished with 20 points, five assists and three steals. Cedric Harris added 15 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals, while Chris Morrow had 15 points and seven rebounds.
The foul line was a double-edged sword for WLU, which made 13 of 24 free throws on the night and just 4 of 11 after halftime.
Dreher led a balanced attack for Charleston with 21 points, while Terrell Lipkins and Aleksander Kesic added 20 each. The Golden Eagles trio was a combined 28 of 35 from the charity stripe. Faulkner and Xavier Humphrey rounded out UC's double-figure scorers with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
West Liberty was whistled for 34 personal fouls and had 4 starters foul out. The Hilltoppers had lost a total of thee players to fouls in their first 14 games ... Charleston's 55 free throws were the most by any WVIAC team in the past seven years. ... The victory snapped a 10-game losing streak for Charleston against West Liberty. The Hilltoppers are now 11-2 against the Golden Eagles since Crutchfield took the reins prior to the 2004-05 season.
Wheeling Jesuit 101
SHEPHERD - Brantley osborne poured in 31 points and Chad Moore followed closey with 29 as Shepherd downed Wheeling Jesuit in a WVIAC shootout.
Both teams made 13 3-pointers, with Osborne netting nine.
Morgan McDonald added 18 points for the Rams (9-4, 6-3), while Austin Cunningham had 13 and Sidney McCray 10.
Freshman Justin Fritts paced the Cardinals (6-7, 3-6) with 20 points. Andre Harris added 16 points, while Ben Siefert and Tim Goof each had 15 and Recardo Gaddy scored 12.
West Liberty 78
CHARLESTON - Hillary Southworth scored a game-high 27 points and Emily Blevins posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds as West Liberty blew past Charleston.
Coach Lynn Ullom's Hilltoppers (9-4, 7-2) were in complete command by halftime after holding the Golden Eagles (7-7, 4-6) without a field goal for a span of 11:25 while turning an early seven-point deficit into an insurmountable 38-19 lead.
Meghan Wiseman backed Southworth and Blevins with 13 points and nine rebounds while Liz Flowers finished with seven points and a game-high six assists.
Wheeling Jesuit 63
SHEPHERD - Emily Daniel scored 18 points and Gabby Flinchum had 16 as Shepherd downed Wheeling Jesuit by outscoring the Cardinals 54-35 in the second half.
Alex Weakland added 14 points for the Rams (5-8, 4-5), while Rachel Johnson had 11.
Jaila Bryant paced the Cardinals (5-8, 2-7) with 18 points. Jamie Sobczak added 15 points, while Emily Robinson had 11.