By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer
After a quick delay in the season for Thanksgiving break, Ben Howlett and his Running Hilltoppers are looking to continue their hot start this weekend.
On Saturday, Dec. 2, the West Liberty Hilltoppers (5-0, 2-0 MEC as of Nov. 26) will host the Falcons of Notre Dame College (3-3, 1-1 MEC as of Nov. 26). The Toppers’ last game was played on Nov. 20, and they easily ousted West Virginia Wesleyan College by a score of 111-81, extending their record to 5-0. They are hoping to continue their early season success against the Falcons.
Last season, the Toppers won both matchups against the Falcons comfortably by a combined 39 points. The two teams played their first game in the 2013-14 season, and have played regularly after NDC joined the Mountain East Conference. In nine matchups in the last four seasons, the Toppers lead the series with eight wins in nine games, and are hoping to extend their success against the Falcons behind redshirt freshman Dalton Bolon and graduate senior Dan Monteroso.
Redshirting last season in his first year with the Toppers, expectations were high for the talented freshman, and he has not disappointed. Through their first five games, Bolon leads the Toppers in scoring, averaging nearly 18 points per game. He also leads the team in rebounds with six per game, while dishing two assists and shooting 46 percent from the field. Topper faithful should be happy Bolon still has many more seasons to play on the hilltop.
Pre-season All-American Dan Monteroso entered his second season with the Toppers, coming off last year’s incredibly successful season in his first year on the hilltop after transferring from Purdue University. Monteroso is averaging nearly 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block per contest, shooting 52 percent from the field. Monteroso is living up to his All-American honor.
Perhaps the most intriguing statistic from the Hilltoppers embodies the entire team. There are six Toppers averaging over ten points per game and four averaging seven, and no player for Coach Howlett is averaging over 25 minutes per contest. The Toppers lead the nation in those categories and in many more.
Photo Credit: Hilltoppersports.com