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.
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.
Formerly referred to as directors, Dr. Sally Ray in Glasgow, Dr. Ron Stephens in Elizabethtown and Dr. Gene Tice in Owensboro are now Regional Chancellors.
“These leaders play a critical role in their respective communities and are responsible for providing access to higher education and driving up the number of degree holders in their regions,” said President Gary Ransdell, in a statement to WKU Public Affairs.
“They are active in their communities, work closely with the presidents of the other postsecondary institutions and education leaders in the region and are engaged with academic leadership on the main campus in Bowling Green. I believe the title of Regional Chancellor demonstrates our recognition that our regional campuses are critical to our mission and that these leaders operate with a high level of independence and accountability," said Dr. Ransdell.
An academic leader at WKU says the school--and other universities in the state--must find ways to reach out to those who have given up on higher education.
WKU Provost Gordon Emslie says there are many adults in Kentucky who dropped out of college before getting their degrees. He believes that despite the rising cost of tuition, many of those dropouts could be encouraged to give school another try.
"I think people recognize the value of a college degree in this economy,” Emslie told WKU Public Radio. "I think we're finding employers are actually willing to pick up some of the cost of that, so that they'll have a more highly education workforce."
Emslie says he's like to see WKU emulate the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, which offers online classes that can be started at any point in the year that suits a student's schedule.
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.
The WKU faculty regent says she is hearing a great deal of concern from her colleagues concerning the new contract awarded to the school's football coach. History Professor Patti Minter was the lone voice of dissent at Friday's Board of Regents meeting when coach Bobby Petrino's $850,000 dollar contract was approved.
"Decisions like this hire demonstrate that WKU is still committed to funding entertainment at all costs, even as our enrollment flattens, our debt load expands, and our sources of new revenue dry up," Dr. Minter told the Board.
"To state the obvious, WKU must put the money into the academic mission and recognize the faculty and staff who fulfill it are as important as brick-and-mortar and extra-curricular concerns, because when funding is scarce, non-academic projects and extra-curriculars do not teach students, engage in research or public service, or retain the students which is obviously the key to our financial future."
No other regents commented on Minter's statements or the contract before the vote was taken.
After Petrino's contract was approved, Dr. Minter told WKU Public Radio her vote wasn't meant as a slight against athletics, but is instead a protest against what she sees as misplaced priorities at the school.
Hardin County Schools and WKU are partnering to create an Early College and Career Center. The partnership announced Thursday also includes Elizabethtown Community and Technical College and the Central Kentucky Community Foundation.
The result will be a new building where Hardin County school students can take courses in several career pathways, including engineering, manufacturing, automotive technology, media arts, and health sciences.
Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nanette Johnston told WKU Public Radio the center will offer students a new way to prepare for either the workforce or postsecondary education.
"We have to get out of this mindset that if you don't go to college you have to go to a vocational school. This is not a vocational school like you and I might be familiar with," said Johnston.
WKU faculty will teach classes at the Early College and Career Center during the day and college courses in the evenings once the high school students go home.