University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

vs. #2 West Liberty (WV) University - 02/09/12

ATH11_052_GrubbsP_T#2 West Liberty Too Much For Mountain Cats
02/09/12... (Box Score) NCAA Division II second-ranked West Liberty (WV) University turned a seven-point halftime lead into a 27-point second half advantage en route to dealing the Mountain Cats a 105-84 West Virginia Conference loss, Thursday night in the Sports Center.  Patrick Grubbs (Turtle Creek, Pa.), Nick Novak (Murrysville, Pa.), and Matt Palo (North Huntingdon, Pa.) all scored 16 points for Pitt-Johnstown, which fell to 12-10 overall and 10-7 in the WVIAC.
     Grubbs put the Mountain Cats up 4-3 early, but West Liberty climbed out to 25-14 lead on Chris Morrow's lay-up seven minutes into the game.
    With the aid of 69% first half shooting, Pitt-Johnstown clawed its way back with a 23-10 run over the next eight minutes to regain the lead 37-35.
     Palo knotted the score at 33, before Palo's put-back at the 5:25 mark gave Pitt-Johnstown its first lead since Grubbs' bucket 1:38 into the game.
     After the Hilltoppers tied it and the teams exchanged baskets on the next three trips down the floor, the West Liberty outscored the Mountain Cats 15-8 over the final five minutes to take a seven-point halftime lead.
     C.J. Hester's 3-pointer with a minute remaining extended the lead back to 10, but Bill Luther (Gibsonia, Pa.) followed with a 3-pointer of his own for the Mountain Cats to make it 54-47 at the break.
     It wouldn't get any closer as West Liberty's pressure and up-tempo style wore the Mountain Cats down.  The Hilltoppers used a 16-7 spurt, capped by Hester's bucket six minutes into the second half to push the lead to 70-54.
     Jordan Miller (Vinco, Pa.) hit a 3-pointer on Pitt-Johnstown's next possession to get the deficit back to 13, but West Liberty's Keene Cockburn made it a 21-point game midway through the half, and the Mountain Cats could never recover.
     The Hilltopers pushed the lead out to as many as 27 with three minutes to play, before cruising to the 21-point victory.
     Grubbs, Novak, and Palo all scored 16 points, while Miller had 13 points and four assists and Luther added 11 points and nine rebounds.  Novak dished out six assists, and Grubbs pulled down four rebounds.   

     Grubbs stands in third-place on the Mountain Cat All-Time Scoring List with 1,642 points and second on the all-time rebounding list with 927 rebounds, just 18 shy of Don Elzer for the Pitt-Johnstown record.  Novak is 11th on the scoring list with 1,289 points and eighth on the assists list with 361, while Miller is second on the all-time 3-point field goal list with 193 and 97 points shy of becoming Pitt-Johnstown's 24th 1,000-point scorer.
     The Mountain Cats ended the night shooting 53.2% (33-62) from the field, 7-17 from 3-point range, and 11-17 from the free-throw line.  The Hilltoppers shot 55.3% from the floor, 11-26 from behind the 3-point line, and 10-11 from the charity stripe.
     Hester's game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds paced six West Liberty players, including all five starters, who scored in double figures.  Cedric Harris collected 22 points and seven assists for the Hilltoppers, who improved to 22-1 overall and 17-0 in the WVIAC.
     The Mountain Cats begin a stretch of four straight WVIAC road games at Alderson-Broaddus (WV) College on Saturday, before returning home to celebrate Senior Day and wrap-up the 2011-12 regular season with a conference doubleheader with the Lady Cats against Seton Hill University on Saturday, Feb. 25.  The Lady Cats will tip-off at 1 p.m. with the men's game at 3 p.m.