BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Wesleyan men's basketball made a game effort of it against the sixth-ranked West Liberty Hilltoppers tonight in their Mountain East Conference contest, but ultimately the Bobcats dropped a 97-76 decision.
The setback was the fifth in a row for Wesleyan and left them with a 5-9 record overall and a 2-6 mark in the MEC.
West Liberty improved to 13-1 overall and 7-1 in the MEC.
West Liberty had an early 13-6 lead but Kevin Kangni (pictured) made a lay-up and then came back with a pair of three pointers to give Wesleyan their only lead of the game, at 14-13, with 13:26 showing on the first-half clock.
With West Liberty up 19-16, Quin Nottingham unleashed a three-pointer to deadlock the game at 19-19 with 11:30 showing on the clock.
A Mo Berchie jumper kept Wesleyan down by three, at 26-23, but West Liberty scored the next 12 points to grab a 38-23 lead.
Clay Todd ended the Hilltopper run with a three-pointer, Fred Brondsted uncorked a trey and Luka Petrovic dropped in a basket to bring the deficit down to seven, at 38-31, with 4:36 left in the first half.
West Liberty extended their lead to 10 at the break, at 51-41.
West Liberty controlled the first eight minutes of the second half as they stormed out to a 19-10 run to take a commanding 70-51 lead.
Wesleyan was never able to get closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
Wesleyan put four players in double digits.
Kangni and Luke Layhew each had 17 points while Brondsted and Nottingham each had 11.
The Bobcats shot 47.4 from the floor hitting on 27 of their 57 field goal attempts including 10-for-20 from three-point land.
Wesleyan will return to action this Saturday when they visit the University of Charleston for a league game.
The two MEC rivals will tip it at 3 p.m.