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.
WKU head men's basketball coach Ray Harper announced Tuesday the addition of Chris Harrison-Docks to the program after the guard elected to transfer from Butler University before the start of the 2012-13 regular season.
Harrison-Docks is enrolled in school and practicing with the Hilltoppers, and he will have three-and-a-half years of eligibility at WKU beginning after the conclusion of the first semester of the 2013-14 season.
"Chris is a great addition to our basketball program," Harper said. "He has a very high basketball IQ, and he is as competitive of a player as you could find. He can shoot with range, and his dedication to improving his skills is evident in how he enrolled in school early so he could begin practicing with our current team right away. We could not be more pleased to be able to bring a player of Chris' caliber to WKU."
WKU snapped a three-game losing skid Thursday night with a 72-49 win over Louisiana-Lafayette at E.A. Diddle Arena. The win improves WKU's record to 11-8 overall and 5-3 in conference play.
Brandon Harris led WKU with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Three other Hilltoppers were in double figures, including Teeng Akol with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. T.J. Price added 13 points, three assists and had no turnovers in a team-high 37 minutes, and George Fant contributed 10 points and six rebounds.
Percy Blade grabbed 10 rebounds from the guard position, and Aleksejs Rostov contributed seven points and five rebounds in 27 minutes. Louisiana-Lafayette was led by Elfrid Payton's 14 points and 11 points and 14 rebounds from Shawn Long.
How badly beaten up is the WKU men's basketball team? Coach Ray Harper has been suiting up two football players in order to have enough bodies on the court during games and practice.
The Courier-Journal has this article about quarterback Kawaun Jakes and wide receiver Marcus Vasquez, two seniors who just wrapped up their final college football season, and how they're playing important roles for the WKU basketball team.
WKU Public Radio recently profiled Vasquez, who returned to the football field after suffering a season-ending knee injury his junior year.
Robert Griffin III, the star rookie quarterback with the Washington Redskins, had his torn lateral collateral ligament repaired and a "re-do" of his previous anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. ESPN is reporting a full recovery is expected.
Griffin III is just one of the latest athletes to suffer a knee injury involving the ACL.
The WKU men's and women's basketball teams had different results against Arkansas-Little Rock Thursday, with the women winning their fifth conference game and the men dropping a close one on the road.
The WKU men battled back from a 14-point first-half deficit to tie the game at halftime, but UALR made over 50 percent of its shots from the floor in the second half and earned a 75-67 win over the Hilltoppers in Little Rock, Ark. The loss drops WKU to 10-6 overall and 4-1 in conference play, and UALR improves to 9-7 and 3-2.
Brandon Harris recorded his second career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and he has now led WKU in rebounding in four-straight games. Harris also played all 40 minutes in the game and has now played all but five minutes of the last six Hilltopper games. Kevin Kaspar had 13 points thanks in part to three three-pointers, and Teeng Akol had 10 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes.
WKU Women Win, Remain Perfect in Sun Belt
The WKU women used a 10-0 run in the final four minutes of the game to break a 62-62 tie en route to a 78-69 win over UALR at the Jack Stephens Center to stay unbeaten in Sun Belt Conference play.
The Hilltopper men's basketball team begins Sun Belt Conference play Thursday night, as WKU and FIU meet at E.A. Diddle Arena to begin the stretch of the final 18 games in the conference schedule.
WKU enters the game on a three-game slide, with all of the losses coming away from home, but the Hilltoppers have won 10-straight games at E.A. Diddle Arena and four conference games in a row.
The Hilltoppers have won eight of the last nine games against the Panthers, and WKU’s best all-time winning percentage against any conference opponent comes against FIU (28-5, .848). A win on Thursday would make WKU 3-0 in Sun Belt Conference play for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.
Thursday’s game brings with it a special ceremony, as the court at E.A. Diddle Arena will be named in honor of legendary Hilltopper John Oldham.
WKU shot 50% in the second half and had just seven second-half turnovers Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., but the 5th-ranked Louisville Cardinals earned a 78-55 win to wrap up WKU's non-conference slate for 2012-13.
A crowd of 10,728 was on-hand to see WKU and Louisville begin a new four-year series of games. The loss is WKU's third-straight, all coming against teams that went a combined 90-19 and won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament a season ago, and drops the Hilltoppers' record to 8-5. Louisville improves to 11-1.
WKU wraps up non-conference play for 2012-13 Saturday night at 7:30 against fifth-ranked Louisville at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
WKU has dropped back-to-back games this week on the road against Murray State and VCU, and Saturday’s game against Louisville will mark the second-straight season WKU has matched up with a Final Four team from the previous year, joining 2011 Final Four participant VCU during WKU’s 2011-12 non-conference schedule.
WKU returns to the scene of a November 30, 2008 win against third-ranked Louisville, where WKU captured a 68-54 victory against the Cardinals behind 25 points from A.J. Slaughter and 17 points and 12 rebounds from Steffphon Pettigrew.
The bad hits just keep on coming for the WKU men's basketball team. Senior point guard Jamal Crook is out 4-6 weeks with a right foot fracture sustained during Sunday's loss at Murray State.
The Courier-Journal reports the injury couldn't come at a worse time, as the Hilltoppers are getting ready to play one of the top teams in the nation, the Louisville Cardinals. WKU head coach Ray Harper says his team is suffering through the worst rash of injuries he's seen in his long coaching career.