LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Cedric Harris has been a scoring threat since being named the West Virginia Conference freshman of the year for Wheeling Jesuit in the 2008-09 season.
Harris transferred to West Liberty State last season and has scored more than 1,500 points in his career, including 477 this season for the top-ranked Hilltoppers.
Yet the thing about the junior guard's ability to score is that he doesn't have to be the go-to guy, not on a team that puts up 103.6 points per game and has five players averaging in double-figure scoring.
"Our whole team can score points," Harris said Friday afternoon. "The trust factor we have in each other takes a lot of pressure off. We know we can count on each other."
That sense of trust has fueled the teamwork the Hilltoppers have used to reach the NCAA Division II semifinals for the second time in three seasons. West Liberty (34-1) will battle No. 3 Metro State (31-2) at noon today at Freedom Hall for a berth in next Sunday's national championship game at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
West Liberty coach Jim Crutchfield, whose Hilltoppers lost in the semifinals two years ago, hasn't talked too much about the magnitude of the moment.
"Our players know what is at stake," Crutchfield said. "They have been here before, but there is always that feeling of wanting more. Our team is not just happy to be here and neither is Metro State."
Harris has been pivotal for the Hilltoppers, who were beaten 91-90 by Stonehill in the 2012 Elite Eight. He is pumping in 16.9 points per outing and lit up Winona State for 23 in West Liberty's 110-84 quarterfinal win on Thursday.
Harris has stepped outside often, hitting 33 3-pointers on the season, and has also tallied 145 assists and 66 steals.