A tied game at halftime turned into a blowout Tuesday night, as Western Kentucky (1-1) utilized a 14-0 run midway through the second half to pull away from Austin Peay 74-54.
The Hilltoppers started the second half on a 6-0 run to take a 39-33 lead, via scores from guard TJ Price and forward George Fant.
The teams traded scores until a layup by Fant put the Toppers ahead 51-43 with 11:52 remaining to play.
The sophomore forward's bucket started WKU's long stretch of scoring, holding the Governor's without a score over the next 4:13, while adding 12 more points of their own to go ahead 63-43 with under 8:00 to play.
Guard Jamal Crook hit two key 3-point baskets during the big stretch, finishing 5-for-10 from the field for 16 points and 9 assists, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
"After the first half, Coach 'Harp' in the locker room went in there and challenged us a little bit," Fant said. "He wasn't really upset, but he was just saying, 'We gotta know our identity, we hustle out there, we get loose balls, we play hard,' and we wasn't doing that in the first half."
Fant would finish with 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting, to go along with a career-high 14 rebounds.
The Hilltoppers outrebounded the Governors 44-30, adding 17 assists compared to 15 turnovers.
Both teams struggled offensively at the start, with the Toppers leading 31-25 with under 2:00 to play in the half.
An 8-2 Austin Peay run eventually tied the game at 33-33 after the first half of play.
Western Kentucky shot 13-for-38 (34 percent) in the first half, heating up in the second for a much stronger 15-for-29 (52 percent) performance.
Price had the biggest improvement of the lot in the second half, starting 4-for-4 after shooting 0-for-5 in the first half.
"Finally seeing the ball go in helped me a lot to get my confidence back up," Price said. "It's good to see the ball go in for a change."
Center Teeng Akol (14) and Price (11) also finished in double figures for the Hilltoppers, with guard Brandon Harris adding 8.
Western Kentucky's next game will be vs. Western Carolina (1-1) back in Diddle Arena on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 central time, following the Lady Toppers match against Northern Kentucky.