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WVC basketball: Poore frustrated over West Virginia State's lopsided loss to West Liberty

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Liberty is used to getting the best out of West Virginia State every year.

After all, the two teams have combined to win the past four West Virginia Conference regular-season titles. Also, either the Hilltoppers or Yellow Jackets have earned the tournament title the past three years and five of the past seven years overall.

State won the tournament title in 2005, '06, and '09, while West Liberty is the back-to-back defending champions

The two teams played each other in the championship game in consecutive years recently, with each claiming a victory over the other. State knocked off West Liberty 108-107 in 2009, while the Hilltoppers returned the favor with a 94-78 win in 2010.

This year, though, has been a much different story between the two rivals.

The Hilltoppers, the third-ranked Division II team in the country, made the trip down to Institute on Thursday and dismantled Coach Bryan Poore's Yellow Jackets 113-74 in front of a quiet crowd of just 546.

It marked the second time this season that West Liberty (19-1, 13-1) has throttled the Yellow Jackets. On Dec. 4, the Hilltoppers embarrassed State 119-59 at home.

In the two regular-season games, West Liberty has outscored State 232-136.

"This has always been a tough place to play for us and everybody else," West Liberty Coach Jim Crutchfield said. "State has good players and a good coach. For us to come down here and separate ourselves by 30 or 40 points, I am really happy about that."

The lopsided games this season has been surprising to the Hilltoppers.

 "It's a little odd and kind of shocking to see they aren't a little higher," West Liberty senior Alex Falk said. "When I got here, us and them were the two best teams in the league and it was brought up every time we played. It's been a great rivalry."

"Coach Poore and I are friends," Crutchfield said.

"I know he does a good job. He's a very competitive guy. He is probably a little frustrated at this point. But he's also the kind of guy who can bring them back."

Poore isn't so sure, though, based on what he has seen out of his team this season.

"What is frustrating for me right now is we are not a team," Poore said. "I can't do anything else to make them a team. It's a shame that the egos in our locker room has caused the mess that we have right now.

"Until they want to play together, until they want to get along, until they want to be a team, we are done. I can't change any more defenses or plays. I didn't think we would be where we are right now. Until we become a team, we are in trouble."

West Virginia State (7-13, 5-10 WVC) currently is in 12th place in the 15-team league. The last time the Yellow Jackets had this bad of a record goes all the way back to the 2001-02 season when State was 9-18 overall and 7-11 in league play.


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