HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Steffphon Pettigrew had 18 points and seven rebounds and Western Kentucky rolled to an 83-58 victory over New Orleans in the first round of the Sun Belt tournament Saturday night.
Sergio Kerusch scored 16 points and A.J. Slaughter 13 for Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers (20-12), the No. 4 seed, will face Arkansas State in Sunday's quarterfinals.
Charles Carmouche led all scorers with 21 for New Orleans (8-22). Carl Blair had 16 points, but only five Privateers scored in the game.
It was 31-25 Hilltoppers at the half, but they quickly got the lead into double figures and then finished it off with a 17-0 run later in the half.
Western Kentucky was 31-of-55 from the field, or 56.4 percent. They shot 67.9 percent in the second half. They also scored 35 points off 25 Privateers turnovers.