CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Fairmont State will try to its first WVIAC Tournament championship since 1984 against the top-seeded and top-ranked West Liberty Hilltoppers.
Fans can listen to the action live on fightingfalcons.com or 920 AM WMMN. Live stats will be provided by the WVIAC on its website, wviac.org. The game will also be televised live on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
FSU (22-7) comes into Saturday's championship game after out-lasting Alderson-Broaddus in overtime, 75-74. Isaac Thornton hit one free throw with 0.9 seconds left to give the Falcons the victory. The Falcons are the second seed in this year’s WVIAC Tournament.
West Liberty heads into Saturday's championship game after defeating cross-town rival Wheeling Jesuit in the semifinals. The 'Hilltoppers are the top-ranked team in the most recent NABC poll and have won 15-straight.
West Liberty won both meetings against Fairmont State this year. The Hilltoppers erased a late five-point deficit to defeat the Falcons in West Liberty, 82-77, on Jan. 17. In the return game in Fairmont, Isaac Thornton's 44-point effort wasn't enough as WLU came away with a 103-99 victory.
Head coach Jerrod Calhoun is the first coach since Joe Retton to record 20 wins in his first season at Fairmont State. Calhoun is the winningest first-year head coach in school history, surpassing Retton's 21 wins in his first season in 1964.
• Fairmont State’s theme offensively has been a balanced attack. Four players are averaging double figures and the Falcons have been led in scoring by six different players in games this season. Nine different players have scored in double figures for the Falcons this season.
• Six different players have scored at least 20 points in a game this year for Fairmont State.
• The four highest individual point totals for the Falcons this season have all come in losses.
• Isaac Thornton’s 44 point performance against West Liberty are the most points by a WVIAC player this season.
• Thornton is making 82 percent of his free throws this season. Last season he made just 69 percent of his free throw attempts.
• Thornton is the only player to score in double figures in every game he’s played this season. Thornton has scored in double figures in 47 straight games and has scored in double figures in all but seven of the 1111 games he’s played as a Falcon.
• Thornton is second in the conference in minutes played, averaging 35 minutes of playing time per night.
• Fairmont State’s defense has improved to fourth in the WVIAC giving up 71.6 points per game. West Liberty has the most prolific offense in the country averaging 104 points per game.
• Fairmont State has not been defeated by more than five points in a game this year. FSU’s seven losses have come by a combined 26 points (3.7 points per loss). Fairmont State's two losses to West Liberty this season have come by a combined nine points.
• Fairmont State is 10-3 on the road this year. They are 3-0 at a neutral site.
• The Falcons have been out-rebounded eight times this season. Three of those games resulted in losses for Fairmont State.
• Fairmont State does not rely on the three-point shot this year. The Falcons have made the fewest threes in the league this year and are averaging just 4.4 made threes per game. However, Chase Morgan is second in the WVIAC in three-point field goal percentage making 49 percent of his attempts from behind the arc. The Falcons drained eight three-pointers on Friday night in the semifinal against Alderson-Broaddus.
• Morgan has been the X-factor for Fairmont State this year. The Falcons are 10-1 when he scores in double figures.
• Fairmont State’s largest deficit it has overcome this season is 13 points. The Falcons actually accomplished the feat twice on the road at Wheeling Jesuit and at home against Pitt-Johnstown.
• Fairmont State is 14-0 this year when shooting better than 50 percent from the field this season. FSU is undefeated when out-shooting its opponent this year. The Falcons shot a season-best 65 percent from the floor in its win over Shepherd on Jan. 19.
• Three different players have notched double-doubles this season in Brendan Cooper (five times), Isaiah Hill (four times) and Isaac Thornton (three).
• Eleven players are playing an average of eight minutes or more for Fairmont State. FSU’s bench is averaging 20.2 points per game.
• The Falcons have been whistled for more fouls than their opponents in all but seven games this season.
• Opponents have nearly 100 more free throw attempts than Fairmont State this season.
This Season vs. West Liberty
• West Liberty erased a late five-point deficit and defeated Fairmont State 82-77 at the ASRC on Jan. 17. Isaac Thornton led Fairmont State with 22 points and Cedric Harris led the 'Toppers with 20 points.
• The 'Toppers held off an epic 44-point performance by Isaac Thornton to defeat the Falcons in Fairmont, 103-99, on Feb. 16. Cedric Harris scored 25 for WLU. The Falcons also got 28 points from Malik Stith.
FSU vs. West Liberty Series Notes
• Fairmont State leads the all-time series between the two teams, 82-54. However, the Hilltoppers have dominated the series since Jim Crutchfield took over the program going 19-1 against Fairmont State during that time.
• The last five games between the two teams have been decided by 10 points or less.
• The last time the two teams met in the WVIAC Tournament was in 2009. The Hilltoppers defeated the Falcons 96-93 in that game.