Brown Scores 28, But No. 1 WLU Beats Concord 101-81 - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Brown Scores 28, But No. 1 WLU Beats Concord 101-81

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Sophomore guard Thomas Brown scored a career-high 28 points and the Concord University men's basketball team led top-ranked West Liberty University after one half of play Saturday at the Carter Center, but were unable to complete the upset as the Hilltoppers pulled away in the second half for a 101-81 win.

CU falls to 9-5 overall and 5-5 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play with the loss. West Liberty improves to 16-1 overall and 10-1 in the league play with the win.

Concord handled West Liberty's vaunted press relatively well, committing just 16 turnovers which are the third-fewest miscues that the Hilltoppers have forced this season. Collectively, the Mountain Lions shot 43.1 percent (22-for-51) from the field and 50 percent (6-for-12) from the foul line.

The Mountain Lions were extremely effective at getting to the foul line Saturday, forcing West Liberty to commit 28 fouls which translated to 39 free throw attempts for CU. The Maroon and Gray made 31 of the attempts.

Brown's 28 points came off of a 7-for-11 shooting performance from the field, including a 3-for-5 effort from three-point range, as well as a 11-of-12 effort from the free throw line. Brown, whose scoring total was a team season-high, supplemented his scoring with three assists and a game-high four steals.

Senior forward Damien Tunstalle also enjoyed a 3-for-5 day from behind the three-point line that helped him to a 15-point game. Sophomore forward Jordan Davis and freshman guard Cam Shannon, who made his first collegiate start, chipped in nine and eight points apiece.

Junior forward Nick Ruffin came off the bench to collect a team-high six rebounds and lead all CU reserves with seven points. Ruffin and sophomore guard Paul Byrd both tallied two blocks.

West Liberty, which shot 56.9 percent from the field Saturday, controlled play early on and found itself with a seemingly safe 12-point, 34-22, lead with 6:27 to play in the opening half. However, Concord fought back, combining stellar free throw shooting and a blitzkrieg of three-pointers in the half's final minutes to end the period on a 23-8 run to take a 45-42 lead into halftime.

In the final six minutes of the half, CU connected on 8-of-10 foul shots and three three-pointers with an electrifying performance by Brown in the period's waning minutes leading the way. Brown scored 13 points, passed out two assists and made a pair of steals in the time span. He capped the performance off with a pair of three-pointers in the final minute of action.

The Mountain Lions stayed close with West Liberty through the opening five minutes of the second half, but a 13-9 spurt out of the break gave the Hilltoppers a 55-54 lead that they would not relinquish. WLU hit 59 percent (23-for-39) of its field goal attempts in the second period and extended its lead to as many as 22 points en route to the 101-81 win.

Five players scored in double figures for West Liberty with Alex Falk's 22 points leading the way. CJ Hester added a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds for WLU.

Concord will be back in action 4:00 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at Seton Hill in a WVIAC matchup.