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February 18, 2013

Road Trip Rewind: Tops Fall Prey On Florida Swing





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WKU had only given up 80+ points in a game once this season coming into the Florida trip against the F_U twins. That game came in the 3rd contest of the season on November 17th against Western Carolina. A game the Tops still managed to win by a score of 92-81.

The Hilltoppers defense really struggled to contain both FAU and FIU this past week by allowing both teams to eclipse the 80 point mark. While the WKU offense showed up better then it had in recent weeks.

Thursday night WKU took on the Owls of FAU in the retirement capital of the the US (here is looking at you Mike Jarvis) in Boca Raton, FL.

That could possibly explain why so many fans were dressed as blue chairs on what was a warm Southern Florida evening. The Owls fans were probably too busy playing in their weekly Thursday evening Bingo and Mahjong tournaments to worry about attending a college hoops game with two teams that aren't currently playing their best basketball.

The Owls might have something to say about that. They came out with some smoking hot shooting right out of the gate. FAU shot 65.4% (17-26) as a team in the opening half and went 5-7 from three-point range to take a 41-34 lead into the locker room. WKU actually shot the ball fairly decent in the opening stanza going 14-32 from the floor for 43.8%. WKU tried to take control of the ball game on 3 seperate occasions in the 2nd half.

However, FAU managed to hold the Hilltoppers at bay on each occasion. FAU only made 9 total FG's in the 2nd half of play with 4 of those being from long distance. The Owls managed to win the game at the free throw line by converting 21-25 for 84% in the 2nd half alone.

WKU was led by George Fant who scored a career high 25 points while pulling down 11 boards in the 84-78 defeat. FAU was led in scoring with 31 points by Greg Gantt, who entered the game ranked 8th in the nation in scoring. Stefan Moody added 26 points and five assists in the Owls winning effort.

Saturday the Hilltoppers made the short trek from Boca Raton to Miami to take on the Golden Panthers of FIU. All 1,422 of the Golden Panther faithfull that showed up got to witness a little hoops while waiting for the Golden Dazzlers to take the floor at the halftime and do a little dance for the crowd. Let's be honest, they are an asset to the conference and dance teams everywhere.

WKU had 4 players score in double figures and recorded a season high 20 assists despite falling to the Golden Panthers by a score of 87-82. FIU was also able to scorch the nets to the tune of 57.4% for the game. WKU once again had to play catch up in the 2nd half as FIU hit 15-24 (62.5%) in the first half of play to take a 42-38 lead into the locker room.

FIU turned the 4 point lead into 10 less than 3 minutes into the 2nd half. The Golden Panthers led by as many as 15 points on three separate occasions in the final 10:00 of the game.

WKU was led by TJ Price who recorded 22 points to go along with 6 assists while hitting a career high 6 three-pointers. Crook had his best shooting game since coming back from injury by pouring in 18 points. George Fant continued to play well on the road swing by scoring 17 to go along with 6 boards.

FIU was led by 20 points apiece from Tymell Murphy and Jerome Frink. WKU outrebounded the Golden Panthers 33-22, but turned the ball over 16 times to just 11 for FIU.

The 2 losses in Florida turn the Tops record into the negative column at 13-14 overall and 7-9 in conference play. With Just 4 games remaining in the regular season WKU really needs to show up the next 2 weeks.

The Hilltoppers return to action Thursday night against the Warhawks of ULM in Bowling Green before traveling to face the Cajuns that be Ragin' of ULL on Saturday in Lafayette, LA. WKU is in the midst of a 3 game losing streak.

However, the Tops have not lost more then 3 games in a row all season. Let's hope that streak is one that continues and will see WKU victories on Thursday evening.



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