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February 14, 2013
Tops Fall Prey To Owls, 84-78
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Replacing Aleksejs Rostov with O'Karo Akamune was the only lineup change WKU head coach Ray Harper made for Thursday night's contest with Florida Atlantic.
For a while, the change seemed to work.
The Tops came out of the locker room with an unusually fast start, building a 14-8 lead in the early stages of the game thanks to the defensive hustle of Akamune, who scored some early five-finger discounts that led to fast breaks opportunities.
However, WKU forgot to guard public enemy #1, Greg Gantt. The Hilltoppers' kryptonite went off for 17 first-half points, going 3-4 from three-point range while leading the Owls to a 41-34 halftime advantage.
The second half didn't fair much better for the Hilltoppers when you consider Florida Atlantic shot 60% for the game, going 9-17 from the land of three.
Stopping the dynamic duo of Greg Gantt and freshman sensation Stefan Moody was more difficult than solving a nuclear engineering equation. Combined, they scored 57 points. Once again, Gantt scorched the nets for 31 and Moody chipped in with 26 for good measure to help the Owls secure an 84-78 victory.
The Owls pick up the season sweep of the Hilltoppers for the first time, EVER!
The Tops drop to 13-13 overall and 7-8 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Player of the Game: George Fant. He scratched and clawed his way to scoring a career-high 25 points to go along with 11 boards.
3-Pointer Envy: T.J. Price had 3-point fever tonight, unfortunately, he only went 2-13 from long distance. WKU went 5-22 as a team from beyond the arc. Price is known as a sharp-shooter, but when the trigger is rusty, it would be nice to see him use his athleticism to drive to the basket and create his own shot when the 3-pointers ain't falling.
Bright Spots: Aleksejs Rostov has re-appeared, scoring nine of his 11 points in the second half where he seemed to be the most passionate player on the court for the Hilltoppers. At one point, Rostov threw down a mack-daddy, two-handed jam while screaming motivational overtones in an attempt to spread good vibes throughout WKU's bench. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rostov back in the starting lineup on Saturday.
Next Up: Florida International. The Golden Panthers are coming off a 69-61 loss at Troy tonight. They are 13-12 overall, 8-8 in the conference.
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