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February 9, 2013Follow @SeanWKURivals
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It was more of the same on Saturday night as the Hilltoppers dug themselves an early 8-point deficit within the first four minutes against the visiting Red Wolves. With back-to-back three-pointers by Teeng Akol and Jamal Crook, Western Kentucky ended the first half on a 6-0 and trimmed the deficit to five at halftime, 25-30.
However, the Red Wolves played treacherous defense in the second half and shooting guard Trey Finn offered up three-point mastery, scoring 23 points in leading Arkansas State to the 67-49 victory.
Western Kentucky had reeled off two-consecutive wins over Troy and North Texas since the return of senior point guard Jamal Crook, who appeared hobbled Saturday night. With Crook not being 100%, coupled with ice cold shooting and a Houdini-esque disappearing act from the low post impact players, you can understand why most of the season-high 5,862 Diddle faithful headed towards the exits early.
On a night where Western Kentucky named their All-Diddle Arena Team and celebrated the 2002-03 NCAA Tournament team with former head coach Dennis Felton in the house, many were daydreaming of those glory days a mere 10 years earlier.
With the loss, the Tops drop to 13-12 overall and 7-7 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Player of the Game: T.J. Price. He was the lone bright spot on an otherwise dismal night by scoring 21 points on 7-16 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four dimes.
No Guard Help: Price had to score 21 points for a reason, because Jamal Crook, Brandon Harris, Kevin Kaspar, and Caden Dickerson combined for 10 points and only two assists.
Missing; Low-Post Presence:The Hilltoppers failed to instill any kind of quality low-post productivity due to the size and length of Arkansas State's Kendrick Washington and Brandon Peterson. George Fant was held to eight points and six rebounds and Teeng Akol had eight points and five boards. Aleksejs Rostov scored zero points in ten minutes of play.
Quote of the Night: "We're gonna shake it up, the starting lineup will be different when we play Thursday night." - WKU head coach Ray Harper.
Next Up: The Sunshine State road trip with the Hoot Owls on Thursday and the Golden Pitino's on Saturday.
T.J. Price Postgame
Ray Harper Postgame
Western Kentucky NEWS