CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Liberty's collection of long winning streaks bit the dust Thursday, but the Hilltoppers remain No. 1 in NCAA Division II, and the University of Charleston likely will have to cope with a refocused foe when the Golden Eagles visit West Liberty at 4 p.m. today.
The Hilltoppers fell to Notre Dame College 89-87, ending a conference home winning streak of 60 games. West Liberty (16-1, 12-1 Mountain East) was victimized by a 16-0 run in the second half but rallied and had a chance before Shawn Dyer's 3-point try rimmed out and the horn sounded during the scramble for the rebound.
West Liberty also had a streak of 39 home wins against any opponent, dating back to an 84-80 overtime loss to Findlay on Nov. 17, 2011. The longer streak went nearly six years, dating back to an 88-79 loss to Fairmont State on Feb. 14, 2008.
Finally, the Hilltoppers had defeated 29 regular-season league foes in a row, with the last such loss coming to UC, which hit 40 of 55 free throws in a 101-96 win on Jan. 14, 2013 at Eddie King Gym.
Notre Dame (7-11, 5-7) was an unlikely team to pull that upset after losing three of its previous four gams. That string included a 32-point loss to UC at the Falcons' South Euclid, Ohio, home.
Now it's UC (13-4, 10-3) with the league's longest win streak at eight, which has propelled the Golden Eagles to second place in the conference. Even more impressive, the last six wins have been by double-digit margins, most recently an 83-64 win over third-place Shepherd. UC opened up a 19-2 lead to start the game.
In Institute today, West Virginia State (7-9, 4-9) will try to end its three-game losing streak against Wheeling Jesuit (8-8, 6-7), also at 4. The Yellow Jackets lost 90-79 to Fairmont State at home Thursday, falling behind 19 points at halftime.
State will end a stretch of four road games in five and 10 of the last 13. Seven of the Yellow Jackets' last eight games are in Institute, including the season finale against UC in State's new gym.
WVU Tech (14-9) hits the road today to play Davis & Elkins, also at 4.
The Golden Bears have momentum of a six-game winning streak, the last a 112-68 pasting Thursday of WVU-Parkersburg, in which Armond Perez had career-highs in points (26) and rebounds (13). Earlier in the week, Tech's Stephen Coles was named the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association's player of the week.