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Panthers Take on Hilltoppers

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- On paper it looks clear-cut; West Liberty, the nation's top scoring offense against D2's best defense, Drury.
EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- On paper it looks clear-cut; West Liberty, the nation's top scoring offense against D2's best defense, Drury.

But for the players, it's even more basic.

"I just come to play,” says Drury senior Lonnie Boga. “We have a system and a way to play we'll be ready

Boga is one of seven Panthers who were on last year's national championship team, which includes the entire starting five.

They trust the system and the game plan for West Liberty.

"I think the culture and habits of last year's team had allowed us to have the feeling of what it's like to win games,” says Drury Coach Steve Hesser. “And win close games."

West Liberty Coach Jim Crutchfield says his Hilltoppers have a bad rep.

Despite averaging 100 points per game and hitting 30 threes in one game this year, it's not all about the long ball.

“Offensively what we do is work hard to get good looks at the basket,” says Crutchfield. “And hopefully you have good shooters that can get it in. But you can't bank on that."

What the Hilltoppers bank on is a high-octane pressure defense.

"Coach Crutchfield preaches a high intensity defense, that's what gets us going,” says West Liberty senior Cedric Harris. "We like to get teams to play at our pace, We like to set the tempo."

And that tempo is fast-paced.

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