WKU basketball

Kevin Willis

WKU and area school systems are teaming up to combine athletics and academics. The Lady Hilltoppers  game against Georgia State on Jan. 8 will be attended by more than 2,100 students in grades K through 8 from Bowling Green Independent Schools, and schools in Glasgow and Logan County.

The effort is the third "Spread the Red Education Game" to be held at WKU.

Teachers in the schools are using historical statistics and biographical information on the WKU players as learning tools by incorporating them into history, reading, math, and geography lessons. Bowling Green Superintendent Joe Tinius says another benefit of the effort is getting young children on a college campus.

"Whenever we bring students to campus, we will always have many of them talk about how they had never been there before, and that they didn't know that a particular building was in Bowling Green. And that's a little hard for some of us to understand, and comprehend," Tinius said. "But I think as an educator it makes me realize that we need to take advantage of every opportunity to get our kids on campus."

The next WKU men’s basketball recruiting class features players from three different parts of the country.

WKU head basketball coach Ray Harper announced today that the school has received national letters of intent from Justin Johnson of Hazard, Kentucky; Derrick Clayton from Castro Valley, California; and Avery Patterson of Decatur, Georgia.

Johnson  is a 6'7" forward who averaged over 16 points and 10 rebounds a game as a junior at Perry County Central High School last season. 

Clayton is a 6'5" guard who scored 17 points a game as a junior in California.

Patterson is from the same high school in Georgia that produced current Hilltopper Niger Snipes. Coach Harper says he believes the 6'1" guard can compete for playing time as a freshman next season.

The WKU men's basketball team dropped its season opener against Wichita State early Tuesday morning, as the teams played at midnight as part of ESPN's college basketball Tip-Off Marathon.

The Shockers, coming off a Final Four season, beat the Hilltoppers 66-49 in Wichita in front of a crowd of 10,506.

T.J. Price and Aleksej Rostov led the Hilltoppers with 12 points each. Fred VanVleet scored 17 points for Wichita State, which also had three others score in double figures.

WKU begins a three-game stretch at E.A. Diddle Saturday night against East Tennessee State.

WKU Women Lose, Too

The Vanderbilt women's team put together a big second-half run in beating the WKU Lady Toppers 85-60 Monday night in Nashville.

The WKU men’s basketball team opens up its season in unusual fashion Monday evening.

Actually, make that Tuesday morning.

The Hilltoppers are on the road at Wichita State for a game that begins at midnight Tuesday morning. The unorthodox scheduling is a result of WKU’s participation in ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon, an event the network has billed as “24 hours of hoops.”

The WKU-Wichita State game is being televised on ESPN2.  

The WKU women’s basketball team is also kicking off its regular season, and  looking to win on the road against Vanderbilt for the first time in nearly 15 years. The Lady Hilltoppers play the Commodores tonight at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville.

The WKU women’s team won its season-opener Saturday against Austin Peay.

The WKU men’s basketball team will burn the midnight oil during their season opener. The school announced Monday that the Hilltoppers will take on Wichita State at midnight on November 12, as part of ESPN 2’s Tip-Off Marathon.

ESPN is airing more than a dozen games in over 24 hours of basketball to kick off the new season.

Both WKU and Wichita State are coming off of NCAA tournament appearances, with the Shockers making last season’s Final Four. The Hilltoppers went 20-and-16, and won the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

You can see the 2013-14 WKU men's basketball schedule here.

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 WKU Hilltoppers gave the #1 seed Kansas Jayhawks all they could handle Friday night, leading at the half and remaining within four points with 25 seconds left in the game.

But WKU went ice cold offensively in the second half, and Kansas held on to win 64-57.

WKU shot only 31% from the field for the game, and the Hilltoppers went 3-20 from three-point range.

Senior point guard Jamal Crook ended his WKU career with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and four assists.

WKU fans now have the 2013-14 season to think about, with forward George Fant and guard T.J. Price returning to form a nice nucleus for the two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champions.

WKU Athletic Meda Relations

It took them overtime to do it, but the WKU Lady Hilltopper basketball team beat East Carolina University 88-77 Thursday night at Diddle Arena to advance to the second round of the 2013 Women's National Invitational Tournament.

Alexis Govan's three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining forced the overtime and the Lady Tops outscored ECU 15-4 in the extra session. Govan posted a double-double in the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

WKU Athletics

No #16 seed has ever beaten a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The WKU Hilltoppers are looking to make history Friday night when they take on the Kansas Jayhawks in Kansas City, Mo.

The Hilltoppers are 20 point underdogs heading into their opening game.

It's the second straight NCAA tournament appearance for WKU.

Here's a preview of the Hilltopper-Jayhawks game, courtesy of Kentuckysports.co.

Kevin Willis

The WKU men's basketball team received a hero's welcome Tuesday afternoon after their trip home from the Sun Belt Conference championship. Monday night's win in the title game means WKU will play in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.

After being congratulated by fans outside E.A. Diddle Arena, sophomore forward and Bowling Green native George Fant said he wasn't thinking about what tournament seed the Hilltoppers will receive this Sunday.

"I don't know what we deserve. I don't really want to get into that. I'm just happy with the fact that we're there. For a team that was supposed to be the seventh-best team in our conference, to do this two years in a row is unbelievable," said Fant, who scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds in Monday night's win over Florida International.

Sophomore guard T.J. Price also refused to predict what seed he thought WKU would receive. The Louisiana native says he can't wait to experience the excitement of the NCAA tournament again.

"Just the feeling...when you step out on that court there's no better feeling ever. I remember last year how I felt, and I've always said I wanted the same feeling again, and now I get that chance," Price told WKU Public Radio.