A solid all-around team effort and 25 points and nine assists from Jamal Crook helped the Hilltoppers to their 10th-straight home win and sixth-straight overall Saturday afternoon against IUPUI, 77-57. WKU is now 8-2 on the season and is off to its best start to a season since beginning the 2006-07 campaign with an identical 8-2 mark.
In earning the 20-point win, WKU did not trail in the game. The Hilltoppers have now been ahead on the scoreboard for the last 82:02 of game action, spanning the final 2:02 of the game at Troy on December 1 and the entire Southern Illinois game on December 5.
WKU has now won 15 of the last 18 games overall.
Crook's 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting and nine assists were one shy of career highs in each category. George Fant contributed 13 points and six rebounds, and Kevin Kaspar drained three three-pointers and set career highs with six rebounds and five assists. Brandon Harris also added nine points and eight rebounds, and Percy Blade scored eight points in 13 minutes off the bench. IUPUI was paced by 13 points from both Ian Chiles and former Warren Central High School star Jordan Shanklin.
The Hilltoppers shot a season best 55.8 percent from the field (29-for-52) and buried eight three-pointers as a team. The WKU defense limited the Jaguars to 36.4 percent from the floor.
After IUPUI cut the Hilltopper lead to 21-20 with 6:27 remaining in the first half, WKU went on an 11-2 run to take a 10 point lead and scored 13 of the final 17 points of the opening half to take a 34-25 halftime advantage.
A 9-0 scoring burst over 2:02 in the second half opened the game and gave the Hilltoppers a 19-point lead at 52-33. Crook scored seven of the nine points during the stretch, and from there it was all Hilltoppers.
IUPUI only got as close as 13 points down the stretch and WKU led by as many as 20, which was the final margin in the 77-57 victory.
WKU is now 13-2 under head coach Ray Harper when leading a game with 5:00 remaining, and the Hilltoppers are 16-1 under Harper when outrebounding their opponent in a game.
After a week with no games during final examinations, WKU begins a stretch of three-straight games away from home Sunday, December 16 at Murray State. The game will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network, airing nationally on ESPN3 and regionally on WKYU-PBS and WBNA. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call.
From there, WKU plays at VCU on December 18 and against Louisville in Nashville on December 22 to wrap up the non-conference schedule, before returning home to E.A. Diddle Arena on December 27 against FIU and December 29 against North Texas.
Each of the next two home games features special recognitions as part of WKU's "50 Seasons of Diddle Arena" celebration. The court at E.A. Diddle Arena will be named in honor of legendary Hilltopper John Oldham at the FIU game, and former Hilltopper Bobby Rascoe will have his jersey retired at the North Texas game.