WKU basketball pounce Panthers in Diddle Arena finale


What a senior night it was for WKU basketball, as T.J. Price, Trency Jackson and George Fant went out (of Diddle Arena, at least) in style, cruising to a 16 point win against FIU (a team that TJ and George had defeated two years ago for the Sun Belt crown) and pull into a three-way tie for third place in the Conference USA standings.

As seems to have been a trend over the past few weeks for the Tops, it was actually the Panthers who started out hot, and got out to a 19-12 lead. Then the Tops happened.

WKU would take a 22-19 lead at the 7:05 mark of the first half, and would never look back for the rest of the night, relying on timely three’s (every one of which brought Diddle to it’s collective feet), a trio of alley-ops’ (two involving Mr. Fant, because it just wouldn’t have been a senior night for the Bowling Green native without it) and stingy defense to take complete control of the game.

Yet again, it was Jackson who lead the way on the score sheet (as he did against FAU on Thursday) with 17 points and five assists. Only T.J. had double figures as well (15), but four Hilltoppers scored at least eight points, making tonight’s performance a true team effort. The Tops also got some great play from Justin Johnson, Alex Rostov and Ben Lawson – all who came off the bench – to combine for 11 rebounds and 27 points for Fant, who was limited due to some foul trouble throughout the evening.

The Tops shot over 50% from the floor – 57.7% to be exact – and were at one point 6-of-10 from beyond the arc (they would finish 11-of-21, 52.4%) and, at times, looked like the Tops team we saw during the 9-0 start to the C-USA season.

With tournament time coming soon, there’s no better time for the Tops to be hitting their stride than right now. It’ll be an uphill battle to close the season – road games against both Charlotte and Old Dominion await – but under Ray Harper, anything is possible in March.