WKU Athletics

The latest WKU men's basketball player will add some international flair to the roster.

Ben Lawson, a 6’11’’ forward, will have four years of eligibility at WKU beginning this fall. Lawson is a native of Hitchen, England and was a member of the England 18 and under national team.

Over 31 games for Oaklands College in Great Britain last season, Lawson averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, and nearly five blocked shots a game. The big man can also shoot it from outside, hitting 40 percent of his three-point attempts last season at Oaklands.

Lawson is the fifth new addition to the WKU roster who will be eligible for the upcoming season.

Lawson joins Aaron Adeoye (6-7, forward, Marion, Ill.), Chris Harrison-Docks (6-0, guard, Okemos, Mich.), Payton Hulsey (6-5, guard, Memphis, Tenn.), Trency Jackson (6-2, guard, Jackson, Miss.) and Daouda Soumaoro (6-9, center, Mali) as newcomers to the Hilltopper roster in 2013-14.

The newest member of WKU’s women’s basketball coaching staff is no stranger to head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Candyce Bingham was a member of Louisville’s 2009 national finalist team, and played her junior and senior seasons when Clark-Heard was a U of L assistant coach.

Bingham helped lead the Cardinals to a 34-5 record and a national championship game appearance her senior season at Louisville, and was a graduate assistant at Louisville this past season. In a news release, Clark-Heard said Bingham would bring “great energy and enthusiasm” to the WKU women’s basketball coaching staff.

Western Kentucky senior basketball forward and football defensive end Kene Anyigbo has been arrested on marijuana possession charges.

The Warren County Regional Jail lists the 21-year-old Anyigbo as an inmate at the facility. Anyigbo also faces charges of tampering with physical evidence and failure to illuminate head lamps. His initial bond is set at $2,000. He was arrested Saturday and remained in jail Monday morning.

Jail records did not list an attorney for Anyigbo.

Western Kentucky Athletic Director Todd Stewart told The Daily News that school officials were aware of the charges.

Kevin Willis

Citing increased exposure and football bowl game opportunities, WKU President Gary Ransdell and Athletic Director Todd Stewart announced Monday that the school will join Conference USA on July 1, 2014.

Following a unanimous vote by the WKU Board of Regents late Monday morning, WKU officials and the Conference USA commissioner held a news conference a short time later announcing the pact.

C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said WKU brings a lot to the conference.

“We want to provide an opportunity to the next generation of great universities, and (WKU) certainly fits that profile. I think they’re a growing university connected to some large markets like Nashville and Louisville, and frankly I think they have a tradition of excellence,” said Banowsky.

WKU will play one more season in the Sun Belt, a conference WKU joined in 1982.

For the second-straight year WKU has willed itself to a Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship appearance, and a win on Monday night at 6:00 (CT) against fourth-seeded FIU would send WKU to its 23rd NCAA Tournament and fourth in the last six seasons.

WKU sophomore T.J. Price’s steal and layup with 19 seconds remaining erased a one-point deficit Sunday night as the Hilltoppers advanced to the championship game of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 58-56 win over second-seeded Arkansas State.

Monday's game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

The Hilltoppers have stormed through the bracket this season, winning three games in three days thus far to advance to its 13th Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game, where WKU is 8-4 all-time.

WKU shot nearly 70 percent from the floor in the first half to help open a 46-24 halftime lead and roll to a 74-60 win over 11th-seeded ULM in the first round of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Friday night in Hot Springs, Ark. The win is WKU's fourth in the last five games and moves its overall record to 17-15 on the season.

WKU also advanced to its 22nd-straight Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinal with the victory and will face third-seeded South Alabama at 8:30 PM (CT) Saturday.

WKU went 18-for-26 from the floor in the first half (.692) and finished at 58.3 percent from the game (28-for-48), and the Hilltoppers tied a season high with 11 three-pointers. WKU was led by T.J. Price's 18 points, and George Fant went 6-for-6 from the floor en route to 12 points and five rebounds. Caden Dickerson sank three three-pointers in the game, as did Kevin Kaspar, and 10 Hilltoppers scored in the game.

With the win, WKU advances to the quarterfinals of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament to face third-seeded South Alabama Saturday night at 8:30 (CT) on the Convention Center Court.

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WKU’s Michelle Clark-Heard has been named the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year. Two of her players—sophomores Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan—were named First Team All-Conference selections in a survey of the league’s coaches and media members.

Gooch was also named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.

Voters recognized Coach Clark-Heard for turning the team around in her first season on the hill. The Lady Hilltoppers take a 20-9 record into this week’s conference championships. Last season, the team won only nine games.

Gooch has averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds this season. Govan averaged over 20 points a game, and hit more than 42-percent of her three-point attempts.

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WKU picked up its third-straight win Thursday night at E.A. Diddle Arena, knocking off South Alabama 79-73, behind 22 points by T.J. Price and three other double-figure scorers. The win improves WKU to 16-14 overall and 10-9 in Sun Belt Conference play entering the final regular-season game on Saturday.

WKU is now 10-1 over the last two seasons in games played on or after February 21, and the Hilltoppers have won 16 of their last 19 home games. With the win, WKU equaled last season's win total five games sooner.

Price hit eight free throws and two three-pointers en route to his fourth 20-point game in his last six outings, and George Fant added 13 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Harris contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Aleksejs Rostov had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Augustine Rubit led South Alabama with 23 points and nine rebounds, and Javier Carter had a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.

WKU Athletics

A hot-shooting second half and four players in double figures Thursday night helped WKU end a three-game losing streak with a 75-57 win over ULM at E.A. Diddle Arena. The win improves WKU's record to 14-14 overall and 8-9 in Sun Belt Conference play with three games remaining in the regular season.

WKU shot 60.9 percent as a team in the second half and made six second-half three-pointers to help secure the victory, and four Hilltoppers had at least 12 points in the game led by George Fant and T.J. Price with 15 apiece. Jamal Crook added 13 points and seven assists, and Brandon Harris buried four three-pointers to finish with 12 points, and he also added six rebounds. 

For the second-straight game WKU had at least 18 assists as a team, with 18 Thursday night on 27 made baskets. WKU scored 32 points in the paint, and the Hilltopper reserves contributed 24 points. ULM never led in the game.

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WKU has received word from the NCAA that an assistant men’s basketball coach could be sanctioned for alleged violations at his former employer. WKU's Jake Morton was previously an assistant basketball coach at the University of Miami.

None of the allegations against Morton relate to his time at WKU, but the NCAA letter says any subsequent actions taken against Morton could impact his “athletically related duties” at WKU.

Morton came to Bowling Green in 2011 as an assistant coach and was later named director of basketball operations. The NCAA investigation of the Miami Hurricanes' athletic department from 2007 to 2009 involves a former booster who was later convicted of running a Ponzi scheme. The NCAA has accused Morton of accepting $6,000 from the booster, and providing transportation for the AAU coach of a top high school prospect Miami was recruiting at the time.

WKU overcame a 13-point deficit as sophomore Alexis Govan scored a game-high 31 points to lead WKU to a 64-61 win over FAU on Wednesday night at the FAU Arena.

WKU (18-6, 11-4) overcame a deficit of eight points or more for the third time in conference play to win this season, trailing 17-4 in the opening minutes after going over five minutes without scoring. With its 18th win in 2012-13, WKU has doubled the number of wins it compiled a year ago.

Govan hit 14-of-25 from the field and grabbed six rebounds in 34 minutes as she reached the 30-point mark for the third time this season, all in Sun Belt Conference play. Govan scored a basket with 2:00 remaining to give WKU a 62-57 lead before FAU answered with 1:30 left on a basket by Breana Turner.

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WKU dropped a 67-49 decision to Arkansas State Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena, ending a bid for three-straight Sun Belt Conference victories. The loss drops WKU to 13-12 overall and 7-7 in the Sun Belt Conference.

A season high 5,862 fans were on hand on a night in which WKU honored the All-Diddle Arena Team and welcomed back the 2002-03 NCAA Tournament team celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The win was Arkansas State's first in Bowling Green in the last 11 tries dating back to the 1997-98 season.

T.J. Price led WKU with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting, and he also led WKU in rebounding with seven and in assists with four. It was Price's fifth 20-point game of the season and sixth of his career, and he has now led WKU in scoring a team high nine times this season. Arkansas State was led by Trey Finn's 23 points and six three-pointers, and Brandon Peterson had nine points and 10 rebounds.

WKU basketball fans will have a chance to welcome back a familiar face Saturday night.

Former Hilltopper Coach Dennis Felton will be at E.A. Diddle Arena when WKU takes on Arkansas State. The appearance is part of WKU's celebration of 50 seasons at the iconic basketball arena.

The Bowling Green Daily News notes Felton, who coached WKU from 1998-2003, has kept in touch with the Hilltopper program through his friendships with current coach Ray Harper and assistant coach David Boyden, who played for Felton at WKU.

The Hilltoppers are 13-11 on the season, and 7-6 in Sun Belt Conference play. WKU hosts Arkansas State Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

It's a Good Night in Texas for WKU Basketball

Feb 8, 2013

WKU ended a six-game road losing streak and made it back-to-back conference wins with a 70-59 victory Thursday night at Sun Belt Conference West Division preseason favorite North Texas. WKU is now 13-11 overall and 7-6 in conference play.

Nine Hilltoppers played at least 10 minutes in the game, and all nine scored. Jamal Crook and George Fant led WKU with 14 points apiece, with Fant adding eight rebounds and Crook contributing six boards and three assists. Brandon Harris scored 10 points in 22 minutes, and O'Karo Akamune tied a career high with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting in 13 minutes off the bench.

North Texas jumped on WKU from the start and led 8-0 after 3:44 gone by on the strength of six early points by Mitchell. The Mean Green led 21-13 after a Jordan Williams slam dunk, but WKU closed the half on a 14-3 run to lead 27-24 at the intermission.

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While the college football season is long over, there's an important game Saturday for Hilltopper tight end Jack Doyle.

The former WKU standout finds himself in Mobile, Ala., this weekend to participate in the Senior Bowl. The game is a showcase for some of the nation's less publicized players, and is an opportunity to convince NFL teams they can make it at football's highest level.

Bowling Green Daily News sports reporter Chad Bishop has a great article about the Senior Bowl and the prospects for Doyle, who earned the nickname "Mr. Reliable" during his time at WKU.