Tournament MVP Cedric Harris torched the nets for 26 points and the Hilltoppers (32-2) pulled away down the stretch to win their second straight Atlantic Region title in a battle of Top 10 squads.

West Liberty built several double-digit leads in the opening half but the Bears (27-4) held the hosts to just two points over the final six minutes of the half to take a 43-42 edge at intermission.

The lead changed hands several times in the early minutes of the second half before a 10-0 Hilltopper surge put the Black and Gold ahead to stay, 57-51, with just under 15 minutes on the clock.

West Liberty stretched the lead out to 10 points on several occasions but the Bears battled back to make it a one-possession game, 74-71, on a Malik Alvin 3-point play with 5:35 on the clock.

Shaw would come no closer as the Hilltoppers held the Bears to just two field goals the rest of the way. A dagger of a 3-pointer from All-Region guard Alex Falk put the game on ice, 88-76, with just under a minute remaining.

Freshman C.J. Hester backed Harris with his second consecutive double-double – 16 points and 10 rebounds – while Falk scored all 14 of his points in the second half and Tim Hausfeld chipped in with 13 points.

Alvin, the Atlantic Region and CIAA Player of the Year, led all scorers with 28 points while Tony Smith – 19 points, 12 rebounds – and Junius Chaney – 13 points, 10 rebounds – each had double-doubles in a losing cause.