WKU shines in C-USA opener over Marshall


New conference, new opponents, new challenges. The Hilltoppers are the new guys on the block, but despite that title, the new boys got to work and dominated a conference elder.

The Tops welcomed in the Thundering Herd from Marshall this afternoon, and didn’t hesitate to get to work. The squads battled back and forth to begin the first half, but after a small spurt by the WKU offense around the 8 minute mark, the Tops pulled away, and didn’t let up the gas for the remainder of the half, closing it with a lead of 10.

At times in WKU sports, we question the Tops ability to come out in the 2nd half and perform at the same high level. Today, that wasn’t even a factor as the Hilltoppers kept things rolling, holding at one point in the second 20 minutes a 32 point lead. With high leads, teams like to relax, and the Hilltoppers did just that as they relinquished a run to the Thundering Herd to finish out the game with just a 19 point lead, and a final score of 81-62.

Marshall hasn’t had the season they would like to coming into today’s game with a 4-9 record. With that being said, I still consider Marshall a quality opponent, as the Herd did beat the Hilltoppers last year in non-conference play, and any win in conference play deserves to be a quality win.

The guys in green didn’t have a good shooting day, going 19-57 from the floor (33%), just a mere 22% from behind the arc, and an average 76% from the free throw line. Marshall also had 19 turnovers, but to discount that figure, they also forced the Tops to commit 17 of their own.

The Hilltoppers day was summarized by big play by three guys, Im sure you can guess two of them. It was another highlight day for T.J. Price (25 pts; 6 reb; 8 ast), and George Fant with his consecutive double-double (14 pts; 12 reb).

The third guy is one that I talked in my freshman article that went live yesterday, that guy being frosh D.J. Clayton. At the beginning of the year Fletcher and myself sat down and talked about how special this kid could be, a 6 foot 5 shooting guard that had loads of potential. The past few outings, some of that potential has come to fruition, and Hilltopper nation is now catching that same glimpse. Today, Clayton had a career game, however, I should rephrase and say a career half. Clayton shot lights out for the first half, totaling 15 points, 6-8 from the floor, and 3-4 from the 3. He also added 2 rebounds to his stats during his 11 minutes of play. For the 2nd sector of play he would only add one rebound to the stat sheet and finish the day with 15 points and 3 rebounds. Just imagine what he could have had if he kept rolling in the 2nd half as well. Clayton has so much potential, and the fact that he is just a freshman is just awesome.

As a Hilltopper fan, you can’t be more pleased with how things are currently going. The Tops have now won 5 out of their last 6, with the lone loss being to the Louisville Cardinals. The Freshmen have come alive these last few outings, and the seniors have been leading this WKU team. This team has a tough conference schedule, as C-USA will face the Tops with new challenges, we will just have to see if the Hilltoppers can just keep rolling from here on out.