Hilltoppers outlast Owls to win first ever C-USA road game 88-85


The Hilltoppers knocked out two birds with one stone tonight, winning not only their first ever Conference USA road game, but their first ever Conference USA overtime game as well, in a come from behind 88-85 victory over Florida Atlantic.

It was a game that had WKU within three possessions for a majority of the way aside from being down by 13 with 11:54 to play in the second half. The Tops lead for a total of 6:58, but did just enough in order to steal one from the Owls.

There were zero double-figure Hilltoppers in scoring at halftime (which was tied at 31, in case you were wondering), but the second half saw T.J. Price and George Fant come alive. T.J., who in the first half became the 15th Hilltopper to score 1,500 points in a career, lead all scorers at the final buzzer with 27 points, tacking on eight rebounds (all off the defensive glass) and hitting 10 of 18 attempted free throws.

Fant didn’t have the spotlight of a monster game like he did against ODU, but his numbers would say he played just as well, as he recorded his fifth straight double-double with 23 points and 10 boards while having another solid night (again, by George Fant standards) from the charity stripe, going 9-of-14.

The Owls had three players in double figures – Marquan Botely lead the way with 22 points, Solomon Poole, the Georgia Tech transfer, had 21 and Jackson Trapp rounded out the bunch with 20. Outside of those three, there was little the Owls had to offer, as the next highest scorer only tallied seven.

FAU played a total of seven guys, and one even fouled out before overtime, while WKU used full advantage of their roster playing 11 men. Justin Johnson and Alex Rostov aren’t going to get any sort of praise for their statlines come tomorrow, but they actually had a large role in the beginning of the game and were apart of the leading-scorers at half with six.

As we talked about in our pregame this morning, the Tops have success when they feed the beast inside in George Fant. And, while he didn’t break out until the second half, that was exactly the case as the Tops out-scored FAU 48-20 in the paint. It was the Owls who won the three point day, hitting 14-32 downtown buckets, and kept clawing back to within two or three points in the overtime frame. It was a night when the Tops nearly died because of the three ball, and their own shooting wouldn’t have even been the cause for it.

Tonight was a game the Hilltoppers needed. Yes, they’ve played in some close games to begin the C-USA schedule, but they haven’t been in a start to finish dog fight like this yet. But, now they have and its out of the way. On to South Beach and a date with the Golden Panthers.

Next: Its Another WKU Conference Sweep. The Lady Tops Took Care of Business As Well