Sports
2:00 am
Tue December 18, 2012

WKU, VCU Meet for Third Time in Last Two Seasons Tuesday Night

WKU senior guard Jamal Crook
WKU senior guard Jamal Crook
Credit WKU Athletics

WKU continues its stretch of three-straight away from home Tuesday night at 6:00 (CT) in Richmond, Va., against VCU.

After dropping a five-point decision at Murray State on Sunday afternoon, WKU turns its attention to the Rams just over 48 hours later in the third meeting in the last two seasons between the two schools.

The two former Sun Belt Conference rivals have met 32 times over the years, with VCU winning the last three to take a 17-15 advantage in the all-time series. This is WKU’s first trip to Richmond since 2003.

In addition to the on-court history, WKU and VCU have connections that extend to the WKU coaching staff. Hilltopper head coach Ray Harper started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at VCU during the 1985-86 season under head coach Mike Pollio, who is the father of current WKU graduate assistant, Mike Pollio.

Tuesday's game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. It will also be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call. Live stats and live audio are available on WKUSports.com.

GAME 12

WKU (8-3, 2-0 SBC) at VCU (7-3, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

December 18, 2012 // 6:00 PM (CT)

Richmond, Va. // Verizon Wireless Arena (7,617)

QUICK SHOTS

• WKU has won six of its last seven games and 15 of its last 19 games overall.

• WKU’s three games this week are against teams that went a combined 90-19 in 2011-12 and had at least one victory in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

• The combined record of the three teams that have defeated WKU in 2012-13 is 24-6 (Southern Miss, 7-3; Iowa, 9-2; Murray State, 8-1).

• WKU earned its eighth win of the season on December 8, and last season’s eighth win did not come until February 4.

• WKU leads the Sun Belt Conference in field goal defense and rebounding and is second in scoring defense and field goal percentage.

• Entering this week, WKU ranks 30th in the nation in three-point field goal defense in 2012-13 and 32nd in rebound margin.

• Teeng Akol is four blocked shots away from tying Courtney Lee (2005-08) for ninth place on WKU’s career blocked shots list with 78.

• Jamal Crook needs one assist to tie Anthony Palm (1990-91) for ninth place on WKU’s career assists list at 308.

THE LAST TIME OUT

The 150th meeting between WKU and Murray State lived up to its rivalry status, as eight second-half lead changes and key baskets by both teams highlighted a 75-70 Murray State victory Sunday night in Murray, Ky. Brandon Harris scored a career high 23 points and Teeng Akol and George Fant added 14 and 10, respectively, and WKU matched Murray State step-for-step before dropping the five-point decision. WKU saw its six-game winning streak come to an end, and despite the loss, WKU still leads the all-time series between the two schools, 97-53. Harris buried four three-pointers in the game, including multiple in key stretches near the end of the game, and added six rebounds. Akol and Fant added seven rebounds apiece, and O’Karo Akamune had eight boards in 15 minutes. Murray State was paced by 21 points from All-American Isaiah Canaan and double figures from three others.

HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS

• T.J. Price has scored in double figures in eight-straight games and 10 of his last 11 played.

• George Fant has had at least 10 points in 12 of his last 16 games.

• T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 18 of his last 24 games.

• Jamal Crook has had 20 double digit scoring games in 46 games since the start of his junior season after having just one in 63 games in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

• Five of the eight highest-scoring games of Jamal Crook’s WKU career came in the first eight games of the 2012-13 season.

• Caden Dickerson has made 56 of his last 68 free throw attempts (.824).

HILLTOPPER TEAM TRENDS

• WKU is 15-5 under head coach Ray Harper when allowing fewer than 70 points in a game.

• WKU is 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play for the first time since 2009-10.

• WKU has won 10-straight home games after losing four-in-a-row before that.

• WKU’s current 10-game home winning streak is its longest since winning 15-in-a-row at E.A. Diddle Arena spanning the end of the 2007-08 season (1), the entire 2008-09 season (13) and the start of the 2009-10 campaign (1).

• WKU has used six different starting lineups in 11 games in 2012-13.

• In the last 27 games, WKU is holding opponents to 64.5 points per game and is 19-8 in that stretch.

• WKU has come back to win eight of the last 13 times it has trailed at halftime, compared to losing 12-straight in that situation before that.

• WKU has faced a double-digit deficit at one point in 31 of its last 38 losses dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season.

• The Hilltoppers have advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament eight-straight times and in 21 instances in 30 years as a member of the league dating to 1983.

• WKU has won at least one game in each of its last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2008, 2009, 2012).

• Since 1993 WKU has seven NCAA Tournament wins to its credit, and the rest of the Sun Belt Conference is a combined 0-14.