EVANSVILLE, Ind. — West Liberty coach Jim Crutchfield spent a mostly sleepless night even after his team beat South Carolina-Aiken 86-83 Thursday to advance to the Division II national championship game.
“Too much adrenalin,” Crutchfield admitted Friday. “I was up the whole night. I just couldn’t sleep.
“I’m hoping the players slept a little better. I think they did. I talked to all of them (Friday morning) and I think they rested. It’s just an exciting time.”
West Liberty (31-3) will play Central Missouri (29-5) on Saturday at 3 p.m. in a game that will be televised on CBS. Central Missouri beat No. 1-ranked Metro State in the semifinals Thursday when TJ White made a layup with one second remaining.
Crutchfield planned to let his players rest most of Friday.
“We need to let the guys heal up a little bit,” Crutchfield said. “We’ll watch some tape on these guys so we are mentally and physically ready for these guys tomorrow.”
Central Missouri is led by 6-9 junior forward Dillon Deck who averages 13.7 points per game while shooting 62-percent from the field. 6-0 guard Daylen Robinson is a Kansas City native who played three seasons at Tech Tech prior to transferring to Central Missouri. Robinson averages 12.9 points per game and he also has a staggering 190 assists.
“They are very, very talented offensively,” Crutchfield said of Central Missouri. “They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t.”
West Liberty can score a bit as well as the Hilltoppers again led the nation again with an average of 101 points per game. Shawn Dyer was the standout Thursday night during the win over USC-Aiken. Dyer scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half. It was another very productive night for the Hilltoppers bench as West Liberty got 45 points from reserves.
West Liberty will play in the national championship game for the first time in school history. The Mules of Central Missouri will be in the national championship game for the first time in 30 years.
“This is the kind of game if you win it carries with you for the rest of your life,” Crutchfield said. “We know what is behind this. It’s for a national championship.”