Hilltoppers defeat first ranked opponent at home since 1986 in 72-65 win over ODU


For the first time since 2009, the Western Kentucky has defeated an opponent in the Top 25. For the first time since 1986, Western Kentucky has defeated a ranked opponent inside E.A. Diddle Arena. And, just because I’m a fan of particulars, for the first time ever, Western Kentucky has defeated a ranked team on John Oldham Court (because it was named after Sir Oldham in 2012).

The Hilltoppers over came poor shooting early, and a poor start to the second half to defeat #25 Old Dominion to bring to a close the longest home stand WKU has had since 1935 and have begun their tenure in Conference USA 3-0. The night belonged to Bowling Green’s favorite son, George Fant, who recorded his fourth consecutive double double in the first half, and  finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Fant was the only offensive spark the had in the first half and wasn’t just a reason the Tops were in the game, but was the reason the Tops took a 36-29 lead into halftime.

For the Hilltoppers to have success in the second half, I tweeted out that there needed to be more offensive weapons to step up, because George can’t do it all alone. Well, they heeded my warning, as Chris Harrison-Docks and T.J. Price stepped up in the second half, scoring 19 and 15, respectively, and in the process, T.J. overtook Anthony Winchester’s program record, and T.J. Price is now the all-time WKU three point king, sitting on 248 triples. Well done sir.

The Tops’ defense contained the Monarchs offense to only two double-digit scorers; Trey Freeman with 20 and Richard Ross with 13. The Monarchs shot better from the floor than the Hilltoppers did, 45% to 39%, but poor shooting from beyond the arc (27%) and the free throw line (68%) helped lead to their demise. That, and too much George Fant.

Once again from the Tops, however, they got little production from their bench. Nine total points and seven total rebounds, but a couple of those were huge, as Ben Lawson grabbed a pair of rebounds and hit a couple of key free throws to help further keep the game out of reach for Old Dominion. Justin Johnson was also a key body on the floor tonight, seeing 26 minutes and coming away with five rebounds and four points.

Now, I can’t predict the future and, quite honestly, I have no idea what this win will do for the confidence of the Tops going forward. Are they going to keep it up or are they going to fall flat on their face their next time out against FAU? I guess only time will tell. But for now, lets enjoy this W.