Bucs halt skid, cruise past Liberty

TENNERTON – Buckhannon-Upshur ended its 14-game losing streak Tuesday night, and in doing so, extended Liberty’s losing streak to 14 games with a 58-42 Big 10 Conference victory.

The Bucs sealed the win with an emphatic 19-0 run that turned a 29-26 third-quarter deficit into a 45-29 fourth-quarter lead. During the surge, B-U held the Mountaineers scoreless from the 4:51 mark of the third to the 4:12 mark of the fourth, a total of 8:39 off the clock.

“It was a much better overall defensive effort tonight,” Buc coach Gurash said. “They were beating us with some dribble penetration in the first half, but we adjusted to that and took them out of what was working for them in the second half. I am really proud of our guys for applying the pressure and keeping up the intensity.”

Liberty led early, producing an 8-0 run that led to a 17-10 second-quarter lead. B-U responded with a 10-0 run that led to a 20-17 advantage before Liberty scored the half’s last five points for a 22-20 cushion at intermission.

Early in the third, the Mountaineers still held a tight 29-26 lead, setting the stage for the B-U defensive lockdown. Playing primarily man defense with a smaller lineup, the Bucs surged to the lead.

“Going smaller with a lot of guards was simply a better matchup for us in this game,” Gurash said. “I would have liked to have gotten the ball inside more, but the adjustments we made were working.”

Three different Bucs hit double figures, led by Dalton Westfall with a double-double performance of 14 points and 15 rebounds. He was complemented by Zane Clevenger with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Dalton Crislip produced four assists, and freshman Cody Garrett came off the bench to add seven points and four rebounds.

Liberty also put three players in double figures, though B-U did a good job of keeping Mountaineer senior star Jason Morris in check, holding him to 13 points. Morris also had a team-high 11 rebounds. He was complemented by 13 points from Tristan Nutter and 11 points from Josh Davis.

B-U improves to 2-15 with the win, while Liberty falls to an identical 2-15.

The Bucs look to ride the momentum from the victory into Grafton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, facing the Bearcats in a Big 10 Conference tilt.