University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

at #1 West Liberty (WV) University - 01/05/13

ATH11_057_NovakN_T#1 West Liberty Holds Off Mountain Cats, 101-92
     01/05/13... (Box Score) The Mountain Cats gave No. 1-ranked West Liberty (WV) University everything it could handle on Saturday.  Pitt-Johnstown held a 75-74 lead with eight minutes to play to mark the first time this season the Hilltoppers trailed in the second half, but West Liberty was able to hold off the Mountain Cats and stay unbeaten with a 101-92 WVIAC win in West Liberty, W.Va.  Nick Novak (Murrysville, Pa.) scored 26 points and Jordan Miller (Vinco, Pa.) added 23 points for Pitt-Johnstown, now 6-4 overall and 3-4 in the WVIAC. 
     C.J. Hester scored six early points, and Shawn Dyer and Seger Bonifant hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give West Liberty a 24-16 lead at the 11:15 mark of the first half.
     The Mountain Cats clawed back to within on on Andrew Cressler's (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 3-pointer three minutes later, but the Hilltoppers pushed it out to a 46-27 advantage on an Alex Falk basket at the 5:35 mark.
     Once again, Pitt-Johnstown battled back and tied it at 38 on 3-pointers from Miller and Bill Luther (Gibsonia, Pa.).
     However, West Liberty outscored the Mountain Cats 9-4 over the final 3:39 to go up 47-42 at the half after Novak's jumper dropped at the buzzer.
     Ian Vescovi (Patton, Pa.) opened the second half scoring for Pitt-Johnstown, but West Liberty extended its first half run to 17-6 on a Cedric Harris buaket to build the Hilltopper lead to 55-44.
     Pitt-Johnstown responded with a 18-7 spurt of it own, capped by another Vescovi basket with 12:54 to play to knot it at 62.
     The Mountain Cats kept it close and fave the Hilltoppers their first second half deficit of the year at 75-74 with 7:53 remaining on Vescovi's lay-up to mark the first time this season West Liberty has trailed in the second half.
     However, West Liberty proved to be just a bit to much.  After Miller hit a pair of free-thows with 4:43 left to cut it to 82-80, the Hilltoppers put it away with six straight free-throws in the final 51 seconds to hold on for the nine-point win.
     Novak had 26 points and five assists, and Miller added 23 points, including four 3-pointers and 7-7 from the free-throw line, to lead four Mountain Cats who scored in double figures.  Vescovi finished with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Luther socred 14 points.  Cressler chipped-in six points and five rebounds in the loss. 
     Novak currently stands in fourth-place on the Mountain Cat All-Time Scoring List with 1,638 points and third on the assists list with 446, while Miller is second on the all-time 3-point field goal list (244) and 15th on the scoring list with (1,155 pts.). 
     The Mountain Cats shot 54% (33-61) from the floor, 8-17 from 3-point range, and 18-24 from the free-throw line.  The Hilltoppers ended the day shooting 53% from the field (37-70), 10-19 from behind the 3-point line, and 17-20 from the charity stripe.
     Harris poured in a game-high 32 points, and Hester had 18 points to pace four Hilltoppers who scored in double figures.  West Liberty improved to 12-0 overall and 6-0 in the WVAIC.

     The Mountain Cats wrap-up a stretch of three consecutive WVIAC games beginning at Alderson-Broaddus (WV) College on Monday and at West Virginia Wesleyan College on Thursday.  Pitt-Johnstown will return home on January 14 to host a conference doubleheader with the Lady Cats against Ohio Valley (WV) University.  The Lady Cats will tip-off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men's game at 7:30 p.m.