Freshmen Tehree Horn and Mario Lacy Jr. each tallied 18 points and four rebounds for the Urbana University men’s basketball team, but it wasn’t enough as 16th-ranked West Liberty University downed the Blue Knights, 101-76, in Saturday’s home opener.
UU (1-4, 0-1 MEC) took its first lead of the game on a Horn three-pointer to go up 5-3 at the 17:04 mark of the first half and then extended the lead to 7-3 on a Lacy Jr. layup less than a minute later.
The Blue Knights were able to keep the potent Hilltoppers’ offense in check for a good portion of the game early on, but Kyle Kegley’s three-pointer with 13:10 left in the first half was the last lead of the game for head coach Josh Gibson’s crew.
West Liberty (4-1, 1-0 MEC) led by as much as 46-26 when Dalton Bolon sank a pair of free throws with 2:50 remaining in the opening stanza, but UU clawed its way back into the game with a 16-5 run to end the half, capped off by a Horn three-pointer to go into the locker room down 51-42.
Shaunn Monroe assisted on a Kegley layup a minute into the second half to cut the Hilltoppers’ lead down to 51-44, but it was all West Liberty the rest of the game.
West Liberty isn’t just known for its offensive attack as the Hilltoppers forced 25 turnovers with 20 by way of the steal variety and outrebounded the Blue Knights by a 39-33 margin.
Bolon led the way for West Liberty with 25 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Kegley’s rebound at the 8:36 mark gave the sophomore from Mount Gilead, Ohio, his first career double-double in a Blue Knights’ uniform. His 14 total points matched his single-game best point total that he tallied against Elizabeth City State on Nov. 9.
Kegley would also register five blocked shots for the Blue Knights.
Lacy Jr.’s 18-point barrage was also a career-high total eclipsing his previous mark of eight against Livingstone on Nov. 8.
UU plays at Wheeling on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.