BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — After a hard-fought, three-point overtime loss at Southern Miss Saturday night, WKU returns to Bowling Green for its home opener against Austin Peay Tuesday night at 7:00 as part of the 2012 Cancun Challenge.
The two former Ohio Valley Conference foes have met 51 times over the years, and the Hilltoppers have won nearly 73 percent of the matchups. Austin Peay returns nine letterwinners but just one starter from last year’s squad, and the Governors were picked to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference West Division in the conference’s preseason coaches’ poll this season.
Saturday’s game at Southern Miss was WKU’s first season opener that needed overtime since the start of the 2004-05 season against Tennessee State, and the Hilltoppers have won the following game in three of the last four seasons they have lost the opening game.
Both Tuesday’s game against Austin Peay and Saturday’s contest against Western Carolina are part of the Cancun Challenge, and WKU heads to Mexico next week to play two more games in the early-season tournament.
The game will be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call. The Bowling Green affiliate on the network is WKLX-FM 100.7. There is no television for Tuesday's game, and live stats, live video and live audio are available on WKUSports.com.
It is Veterans Night at E.A. Diddle Arena, and fans who show a military ID will receive a complimentary ticket to the game. All family and friends can purchase reduced-price tickets for just $7 each. In addition, the first 2,500 fans to enter E.A. Diddle Arena Tuesday night will receive a free WKU men's basketball schedule magnet.
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 (0-1) vs. Austin Peay (1-0)
November 13, 2012 // 7:00 PM (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. // E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
• The game against Austin Peay is the 100th in Jamal Crook’s Hilltopper career.
• The two coaches in the game have combined for 799 career NCAA victories.
• The 26 turnovers WKU forced at Southern Miss on Saturday were the most in a game since causing 25 against New Orleans in the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
• WKU’s 26 forced turnovers at Southern Miss on Saturday were the most in the first game of the season since the Hilltoppers caused 28 Tennessee State miscues to start the 2004-05 campaign.
• The Hilltoppers have won 10 of the last 12 home openers.
THE LAST TIME OUT
WKU erased a 14-point deficit to force overtime but fell 67-64 in overtime to Southern Miss in front of 7,097 at Reed Green Coliseum in the season opener for both squads Saturday night. Southern Miss’ Jerrold Brooks hit four free throws in the final 8.3 seconds of overtime to give the Golden Eagles the win as O’Karo Akamune’s three-point attempt at the buzzer missed the mark. WKU held the Golden Eagles without a field goal in the final 4:57 of regulation and the entire overtime period, but Southern Miss was 9-of-11 from the free throw line in the extra period. Senior Jamal Crook led the Hilltoppers with a game-high 17 points while sophomore Kevin Kaspar hit a career-high four three-point field goals and finished with 13 points. George Fant added 10 points.
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS
• Jamal Crook has had 13 double digit scoring games in 36 games since the start of his junior season after having just one in 63 games in his freshman and sophomore seasons.
• George Fant has had at least 10 points in six of the last seven games.
• T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 11 of the last 16 games.
• George Fant has led WKU in rebounding in nine of the last 17 games.
• Caden Dickerson has made 52 of his last 62 free throw attempts (.839).
HILLTOPPER TEAM TRENDS
• WKU has won seven of its last nine games.
• In the last 17 games, WKU is holding opponents to 66.1 points per game and is 11-6 in that stretch.
• WKU has come back to win seven of the last 10 times it has trailed at halftime, compared to losing 12-straight in that situation before that.
• WKU has committed 14 or fewer turnovers in 12 of the last 19 games.
• WKU has faced a double-digit deficit at one point in 29 of its last 36 losses dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season.
• In 68 games since the start of the 2010-11 season, WKU has trailed at halftime 41 times (11-30 in those games).
• 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.