CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Maybe this isn't a good time to mention that the West Liberty University men's basketball team - the West Virginia Conference regular-season and tournament champion from 2009-13 and the Mountain East Conference leader this season - has beaten West Virginia State by an average of 53.3 points in their last three meetings.
That fact isn't lost on State coach Bryan Poore, but it's not very high on his list of concerns.
"We're dysfunctional," said Poore, whose team hosts the Hilltoppers at 7:30 p.m. today at Fleming Hall. "I think we're getting better. We're not all on the same page yet. When that happens, we have a chance, but who knows when that'll happen. I've tried a little bit of everything."
West Liberty (17-1, 13-1) rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 103-71 victory over the University of Charleston on Saturday.
The Hilltoppers have beaten State six consecutive times since the Yellow Jackets won both of their meetings by a total of two points and two overtimes during the 2009-10 season. They were West Liberty's only two regular season losses that year.
There are striking similarities to their last three meetings. West Liberty holds a combined turnover advantage of 47 and has scored 129 more points than State on 3-pointers since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Additionally, the Yellow Jackets are headed toward their second consecutive losing season, something that hasn't happened to Poore since his first two seasons at State (2000-01, 2001-02). State had four consecutive losing seasons from 1990-94 under Chico Caldwell (1990-92) and Bob Marshall (1992-94).
The Yellow Jackets are in a four-game losing streak during which they became the only team in the MEC to surrender at least 90 points in four straight contests.
They dropped a 90-79 decision to Fairmont on Thursday, managed to close to within four with 7:07 left in the game, but trailed 43-19 with 1:29 left in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets couldn't come back against Wheeling Jesuit on Saturday either, falling behind 50-30 with 1:17 left in the first half before losing 103-84. However, they were without forward Anton Hutchins, who second on the team in scoring (18.1 points per game) and tops in rebounding (5.9).
Senior Bo King averages 21.1 points to lead State, but - much like his teammates - has been inconsistent. In State's four-game losing streak, he's had two games in which he was a combined 5-of-22 from 3-point range (Charleston and Wheeling Jesuit) and two when he was 8-of-14 (Shepherd and Fairmont).
West Liberty has seven players averaging in double figures led by senior Cedric Harris (16.8). Freshman and former Parkersburg star Devin Hoehn is second (14.2), followed by senior Keene Cockburn (13.9), sophomore Seger Bonifant (13.8) and junior C.J. Hester (13.8), sophomore Kelvin "Bubby" Goodwin (13.0) and junior Shawn Dyer (12.6).
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THE UNIVERSITY OF Charleston saw an eight-game winning streak end with its 103-71 loss at West Liberty on Saturday, marking the first time since Dec. 8 at Shepherd the Golden Eagles have given up more than 80 points.
The Golden Eagles (13-5, 10-4), who maintained sole possession of second place in the MEC after Shepherd (14-6, 9-5) lost at Glenville, host Wheeling Jesuit (10-8, 7-7) at 7:30 p.m. today.