Hilltoppers mount second half comeback to shock Rebels


Normally when a team is down by 17 points in the first half, you expect the 2nd half to be just as bad, right? In most cases you would say “yes, that team is done.” But for the Hilltoppers, a team that is notorious for second half slumps, they actually pulled themselves together and clinched a game late against a big foe over the weekend.

That foe being the SEC’s Ole Miss Rebels. The Rebels are back this year without their team leader Marshall Henderson (who practically beat the Hilltoppers by himself last year in Diddle), leaving Ole Miss vulnerable to defeat. The Blue and Red squad entered the game with a record of 6-2, including wins over #23 Creighton and Cincinnati at home, and a road game at Oregon.

Reasons for downfall of the Rebels? The two main scorers, Stefan Moody and Ladarius White, maintained their poise as Moody hauled in 25 and White offered 15. However, the two were the only double figure scorers for Ole Miss and the next closest figure was Jarvis Summers (last years’ leading scorer over WKU) with eight. As you look down the stat line for the Rebels, they sure as heck didn’t have a bad outing. They didn’t have the best field goal percentage (38.8%), however, they also totaled 40 rebounds (the same as WKU), with 17 of those coming on the offensive end. While also totaling 15 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocks, and only 7 turnovers.

Looking at the Hilltoppers’ end of the spectrum, it goes to show that when this team is on, they are on and can beat anyone. WKU rounded the second half with a rally of 30-9 to put the Hilltoppers on top of the scoreboard with a score of 69-63. The half would close out with WKU maintaining that lead and leaving the Rebels defeated with a final score of 81-74.

Keys to success? Here is one for starters – a free throw percentage of 81.3%. WKU is currently averaging 67.6% on the year from the charity stripe, and when you look back at box scores this season, a lot of the games lost could have easily been won if the free throws had of fallen. In this case, the Tops made the freebies and found themselves on top. Another individual stat to look at is a single-digit turnover number (9). Not too often does that happen with WKU basketball, and when it does happen, things tend to go in favor of the Tops.

Next is WKU’s leaders having huge days when the team needed them. T.J. Price ended his day with a double-double, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Fellow senior George Fant tacked on 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. Senior leaders have to step up in big games, and the dynamic duo made sure that happened against a top opponent.

WKU will have an intermediate game on Wednesday night before the entire team will have to show up for Saturday’s outing if they even want to stay close. The Hilltoppers host the #4 Louisville Cardinals in EA Diddle Arena (the highest ranked opponent since playing #2 Georgetown in Diddle on December 4th, 1982) in what is sure to be an interesting game, whether that be a blowout or a hard to see nail-biter finish, either way, it will be fun.

Next: We Have An Early Look As To How The Tops Can Beat UofL