West Liberty, WV– No. 1 seed and four-time champions West Liberty University Hilltoppers, topped the Blue Bears 127-89 in the NCAA Division II regional quarterfinals.
Saturday’s game made the Blue Bears’ third consecutive NCAA Appearance, but it would be a short trip for the Blue Bears who only shot 50 percent for the entire contest.
Despite a 127-89 blowout loss at the hands of the Hilltoppers, the Blue Bears are the only team in NC to represent the NCAA Division II Tournament this year.
Coming out into the start of the game the Blue Bears seemed to have had the momentum, getting out to a 2-0 lead, and later coming back to tie the game 8-8 after a short jumper from Eric Mayo.
It only took a couple of three-pointers by the Hilltoppers, before the Blue Bears to not quite look the same way they did in conference play.
The biggest key to Saturday’s defeat was the shooting ability of the Hilltoppers. The team took a 25 point lead at the half, banking in 10-17 shots from the three-point line alone.
The half was led by Eric Dubose who pulled in nine points.
The Blue Bears were only shooting 46 percent from the floor while the Hilltoppers were shooting 66 percent at the half.
“The things that we knew could hurt us coming in, hurt us”, said Coach Stinson.
After the half, the Blue Bears never truly got into the game offensively or defensively.
The Blue Bears were taller than the Hilltoppers in almost every position, yet they were unable to take advantage of their height throughout the game.
The Blue Bears were not able to utilize key player Eric Mayo for majority of the game due to his flu like symptoms, so the team was undermanned, forced to step up.
The Hilltoppers slowly continued to pull away in the second half, controlling the flow of the game and capitalizing on turnovers and simply hot shooting on their end.
Newman stepped up to contribute 10 points, but it was not your usual play as the Blue Bears have displayed all season long.
It was certain parts of the game where the Blue Bears would bank in a long three-pointer or any easy jumper, just to have the Hilltoppers answer back with some easy fast break point opportunities.
The Blue Bears never gave up and played until the end of regulation, which is something coach Stinson drives in his players.
The Blue Bears came up short as time expired to walk away with an upsetting 127-89 loss.
“We ran into a hot shooting team and they were very hungry. We did not represent the CIAA well tonight and I am very apologetic for that. The other team executed and played like they wanted it more”, said Coach James Stinson.
The Blue Bears posted with four players in double figures led by Eric Dubose with 15 points.
Ty Newman followed up with 14 points, while Hakeem Jackson and Darryl Traynham knotted at 13 points.
“Fighting an illness was most certainly not in my plans but, I am still proud of my boys for putting up a fight. We have the best coaching staff and without them we would not have made it this far. Overall I can say I was proud to put on a Livingstone Blue Bears jersey for my last collegiate basketball game”, said senior Eric Mayo.