BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU looks to snap a three-game Sun Belt Conference losing streak Thursday night at 7:00 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Hilltoppers have dropped their last three league games after starting the conference season at 4-0, and WKU currently sits in a tie for third place in the Sun Belt Conference East Division standings entering games on Thursday.
The Hilltoppers have won seven of the last nine games against the Ragin’ Cajuns, including four of the last five played in Bowling Green. Louisiana-Lafayette, picked fourth in the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, is third in the league’s west division at this point, and the Ragin’ Cajuns boast the conference’s best scoring offense in league games this season.
Thursday’s game in the second in a series of three-straight contests at E.A. Diddle Arena for WKU, and the Hilltoppers will play five of the next seven games away from home beginning next Thursday at South Alabama.
Thursday's game will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network, airing nationally on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court, locally on WKYU-PBS and in Louisville on WBNA. It will also be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call. Live stats and live audio are available on WKUSports.com.
Thursday is Throwback Night at E.A. Diddle Arena as a part of WKU's celebration of 50 seasons of basketball at the arena. WKU will be throwing back to the 1970s for the game, and all reserved bleacher tickets will cost $1.00 with the first 1,000 fans receiving a free t-shirt modeled after WKU's 1971 Final Four team uniforms. In addition, the Hilltoppers will be wearing throwback uniforms, which will be raffled at halftime of the January 19 game for fans to keep. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $20.00 at the WKU Ticket Office or Hilltopper Athletic Foundation office, and proceeds benefit the WKU student-athlete scholarship fund.
Concessions will cost $1.00 as well, including hot dogs, small popcorn and small fountain or can soda. In-game music will also be thrown back to the 1970s as part of the celebration.
Tickets for the 2012-13 WKU men's basketball season are available online at WKUSports.com or by visiting the WKU Ticket Office in E.A. Diddle Arena. Fans can also call the ticket office at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally.
WKU (10-8, 4-3 SBC) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (7-12, 3-5 SBC)
January 17, 2013 // 7:00 PM (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. // E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
• WKU’s throwback uniforms Thursday night are modeled after the 1970-71 team uniforms, which was the season WKU advanced to the NCAA Final Four after going 24-6 on the year.
• T.J. Price ranks third in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring in conference games.
• With a win on Thursday, WKU would match last season’s regular season win total 40 days earlier than earning last season’s 11th victory.
• The combined record of the five non-conference teams that defeated WKU in 2012-13 is 67-17 (Southern Miss, 13-4; Iowa, 12-5; Murray State, 12-4; VCU, 14-3; Louisville, 16-1).
• Brandon Harris has played all but nine minutes of the last eight Hilltopper games.
• Teeng Akol is nine blocked shots away from tying Mike Wells (2001-04) for seventh place on WKU’s career blocked shots list with 92.
• WKU was one of just 19 schools in the nation to have both its men’s and women’s basketball teams enter January 1 with 10 or more victories.
THE LAST TIME OUT
WKU cut a 15-point second half deficit to one possession on two occasions down the stretch, but the Hilltoppers could not complete the charge and saw their 12-game home winning streak come to an end with a 65-62 defeat to Florida Atlantic Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena. WKU’s 12-game home winning streak was the 13th-longest active streak in the nation and WKU’s longest since winning 15-straight from 2008-09. WKU was led by 20 points by T.J. Price and 19 by George Fant, and Fant added eight rebounds in 30 minutes. O’Karo Akamune contributed eight points, two blocks and two steals in 22 minutes off the bench. Florida Atlantic’s Greg Gantt, the conference’s leading scorer, led all players with 22 points. WKU was outrebounded in the game, 44-28, and shot 33.3 percent from the field in the contest (18-for-54). Florida Atlantic converted at a 49.0 percent clip from the floor (24-for-49). The Hilltoppers forced 24 Owl turnovers, which led to 18 points. WKU never led in the game.
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS
• Brandon Harris has 26 assists and just six turnovers in conference games, and he is averaging 33.9 minutes per game in those contests.
• Brandon Harris is averaging 10.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in the last five games after contributing 3.7 points per game in the first nine contests of the season.
• Brandon Harris has led WKU in rebounding in five of the last six games.
• George Fant has started each of his last 27 games played.
• T.J. Price has scored in double figures in 14 of his last 17 games.
• George Fant has had at least 10 points in 16 of his last 23 games.
• T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 21 of his last 30 games.
• Jamal Crook needs one assist to tie Anthony Palm (1990-91) for ninth place on WKU’s career assists list at 308.
HILLTOPPER TEAM TRENDS
• WKU has won eight of its last 14 games and 17 of its last 26 games overall.
• WKU has used 10 different starting lineups in 18 games in 2012-13.
• WKU is 17-6 under head coach Ray Harper when allowing fewer than 70 points in a game.
• WKU has made at least five three-pointers in 10 of the last 12 games.
• WKU has outrebounded 11 of its last 14 opponents and is 18-4 under head coach Ray Harper when doing so.
• WKU earned 10 wins before January 1 for the first time since 2006-07.
• Five different Hilltoppers have missed at least one game this season due to injury, comprising four would-be starters and a key reserve (Crook, Price, Snipes, Fant, Dickerson).
• WKU has come back to win eight of the last 17 times it has trailed at halftime, compared to losing 12-straight in that situation before that.
• WKU has faced a double-digit deficit at one point in 36 of its last 43 losses dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season.
• WKU’s 4-0 start to Sun Belt Conference play was its best since 2005-06.
• The Hilltoppers have advanced to the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament eight-straight times and in 21 instances in 30 years as a member of the league dating to 1983.
• WKU has won at least one game in each of its last three NCAA Tournament appearances (2008, 2009, 2012).
• Since 1993 WKU has seven NCAA Tournament wins to its credit, and the rest of the Sun Belt Conference is a combined 0-14.