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West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball


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  • Originally posted by timbertopper View Post

    I broke down and looked it up. West Liberty is the first NCAA D2 team with 12 3-point shooters in the same game so they now hold the record but the old record was actually 11. Hillsdale had a regular-season game with 11 players making a three during COVID - the same year WLU beat them in the Sweet 16. UC-San Diego had 11 3-point shooters the year before that. The Division I record is 9, held by multiple teams, while the D3 record is 19, set by Grinnell against one of their bible school buddies.
    Thanks for finding the previous record and making the correction. I was repeating what Don Clegg had said during the broadcast regarding the previous record. Perhaps I misunderstood him.


    • Fans probably recall the horrendous 3pt shooting slump early in the season. Good is 35%, elite is 40%.
      Malik was approx. 16% and Bryce was approx 25%.
      Now Malik is 36% and Bryce is 42% for the season.
      WLU has 5 players over 40% from three and 3 players over 35%.

      FyI, for we Crutch cult members who need a fix, Nova SE has 7 players over 40% from three. Team is 40.96% for 5th in D2.


      • Bryce Butler named MEC player of the week for the 5th time this season. Congrats Bryce!


        • Observations From a Dummy: Concord at WLU 2/11/23 WLU 127 –Concord 79
          This was a game where WLU played at maximum effort on offense and defense, while shooting incredibly well, far above their average. They also made 79% for their FTs. With 31 assists and only 7 turnovers, WLU can be very challenging to defeat. It was another example of the cumulative effect of extreme pressure on the opponent’s offensive and defensive effectiveness. In addition, every WLU player played for each other, rather than themselves and the box score.
          The result was an amazing 151 points per 100 possessions, compared to Concord’s 92 points per 100 possessions.
          In addition, WLU set a D2 national record, as 12 players made at least one three-pointer during the game.

          Concord Strategy:
          • The current template for many teams in the MEC is to recruit tall, long, fast, athletic players, who are great 3-point shooters and excellent 1-on-1 players. Concord is no different. In addition, Concord has a very good coach, who has a history of defeating WLU, especially at Athens. As a result, they can be a very dangerous team, having beaten Fairmont in Athens and having played many teams closely.
          • They have several 6-6, athletic guys and an experienced PG in Heller. They have a substantial height advantage over WLU.
          • Shoot the 3 effectively. As a team they average a very good 36% from three (35% is considered good for an individual). Two players, Rahama and Heller, average 46% and 43% respectively, which is elite.
          • Keep WLU off the offensive glass and win the rebounding battle. Historically, Concord has rebounded extremely well against WLU.
          • Be aggressive in attacking the rim when they have a numerical advantage against the press.
          • On a switch where smaller WLU guards are defending 6-6 guys, take them to the rim.

          Concord had significant success in implementing their strategy, at least in the first 15 minutes of the first half.

          • Concord was very effective in attacking the basket after breaking the press. Both teams were shooting about 58% in the first half. WLU was shooting 58% from three to 43% for Concord. However, Concord was getting closer shots at the rim, compared to WLU
          • Concord only had 8 turnovers in first half.
          • At the 5-minute mark, they were tied 42-42, with 14 lead changes.
          • Concord was outstanding on the boards in the first half, outrebounding WLU, approx. 22-13.
          • However, Concord had reason to be concerned. When a new WLU platoon entered at 17:32, Concord only subbed one player. They waited another two minutes to 15:40 to sub out 3 players and waited until 15:10 to sub out Rahama for his first break. Less than a minute after they subbed, WLU’s 1st platoon reenters the game at 14:30. This pattern was typical for the game. IMHO, this is too long for Concord to play without rest against WLU. However, it is a trade-off if there is a big drop-off in talent on the bench as indicated by the WLU bench outscoring Concord 27-12 in the first half.
          • WLU slightly loosened a tight game for a 58-51 lead at the half.

          WLU Observations

          • Often, depending on the pace of the first half, the intermission can be just a brief respite from fatigue. At the 15:10 minute mark of the second half, the lead had only grown to 10 at 65-55. However, that is when Concord hit the tipping point in terms of fatigue. The one exception was Rahama for Concord. I was very impressed by his determination and endurance.
          o 15-minute mark – 10-point lead
          o 10-minute mark - 22-point lead
          o 5-minute mark - 35-point lead
          o 1-minute mark – 50-point lead
          • WLU defended the press break by Concord much better in the second half, sprinting at full speed to prevent the drop-off pass.
          • WLU also avoided doubling down low for too long and leaving another opponent open for an easy layup.
          • WLU was making the outlet pass after rebounds extremely rapidly. WLU was entering the offense in transition, while two Concord players were yet to cross half-court. High speed transition offense creates chaos, when opponents are out of position or a step slow due to fatigue.
          • WLU was getting layups even in the half-court offense and getting run-outs in transition.
          • WLU pressure was forcing live ball turnovers. Concord has 21 turnovers for the game, of which 14 were steals (an amazing 67% live ball turnovers).
          • WLU was rotating the ball and getting wide open looks. WLU had 31 assists on 48 FGs (65%), with only 7 turnovers, an amazingly low 8% of possessions, compared to 25% for Concord.

          Keys to the victory

          • All players at WLU were sprinting back on defense, rather than galloping as in some previous games. This shut down Concord’s transition game in the second half.
          • WLU was playing up to their standard, not down to the score. Guys were diving on the floor and running down loose balls with a 40-point lead! WLU got many 50-50 balls.
          • IMHO, the root cause of the victory was the two-platoon system, which creates physical and mental fatigue. It is a cumulative effect, which eventually reaches a tipping point, resulting in a collapse.
          o WLU defense – WLU has 10 players who put incredible pressure on opponents for 40 minutes.
          o WLU has 4 shutdown small guards who are also great scorers, who more than compensate for their height disadvantage. When their opponent’s legs get heavy, their quickness allows them to score easily.
          o Concord was slow to close out on 3-point shooters in the second half, allowing for non-contested threes. In the second half, 3-point shooting for WLU rose from 53% to 63%. WLU had an effective FG% of 72% for the game.
          o Concord’s shooting % cratered in the second half due to fatigue.
          o The second platoon exerts incredible pressure, which IMHO has a greater impact on the game than how many points they score.
          Areas for Improvement
          • Nothing is obvious. There is no perfect game, but WLU played very high-level basketball for 40 minutes.


          • Gotta be careful not to look ahead. Tonight is a trap game against a relatively hot Frostburg team, and if WLU starts thinking at all about the date with Fairmont on Saturday, they could get burned in Maryland tonight. Gotta take care of business.


            • Originally posted by Scrub View Post
              Gotta be careful not to look ahead. Tonight is a trap game against a relatively hot Frostburg team, and if WLU starts thinking at all about the date with Fairmont on Saturday, they could get burned in Maryland tonight. Gotta take care of business.
              So true. They added a guy who did not play at wlu.
              beat wvsu at frostburg.


              • Yet another bad loss for the women


                • Originally posted by Layton View Post
                  Yet another bad loss for the women
                  They needed to make a few foul shots down the stretch to seal it and couldn't do it.

                  In truth, I thought the inbounder crossed the end line on the buzzer beater, but it is what it is. It was Emilee Weekley's night--congrats to her.

                  But, man, it would have been nice to spoil Weekley's party by making a few free throws and escaping with a win.


                  • Originally posted by Layton View Post
                    Yet another bad loss for the women
                    Couple of fundamental concerns.
                    1. Women are playing too high in their defensive stance. That is why opponents drive by them, for their center of gravity is lower.
                    2. They did not position defensively to force weekly to drive to her left. Result was 47 points.


                    • Congrats Coach Howlett on his 150th victory!
                      He is 150-24, or 86.2%, a winning % that is #1 among nation's coaches with at least 5 years of experience.



                      • Wlu vs fsu
                        A sellout is anticpated, maybe by 2 pm.

                        They are evenly matched teams. Fsu has 3 40% and 4 35% 3 pt shooters.

                        IMHO the keys for wlu:
                        1. the trapping pressure leaves one opponent open by design. That player cannot be Sanders or other deadly shooters. Fsu put sanders in corner last game. When they broke press, he had a wide open look. Great strategy.
                        2.wlu must shoot at or above average.
                        3. Wlu must tire out fsu on offense and defense by movement and pressure, even if it does not lead to turnovers. Wlu cannot stand around on offense. That will pay dividends in the last 8 minutes.
                        3. Second platoon pressure and play is very important. They must not allow runs by Fairmont during their shift.
                        4. Guys must sprint back playing the press to stop the passes for easy shots when the press is broken.


                        • I’ll probably go up haven’t watched them much the past couple months


                          • Bryce Butler named to Bevo Francis Top 50 Watch List!
                            Congrats Bryce!



                            • Yea I’ve seen enough of Cooper. Seems like a very nice guy but just isn’t getting it done.


                              • Fun game to be at way to pull one out of your butts