BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU looks to avenge an eight-point loss to UALR 17 days ago Saturday evening at 5:00 when the Trojans enter E.A. Diddle Arena for a Sun Belt Conference matchup.
The loss in Little Rock on January 3 snapped an eight-game WKU winning streak in the series, and WKU has won four-straight in Bowling Green against UALR entering Saturday evening.
WKU wraps up a three-game homestand with the game against the Trojans, and WKU will begin a stretch of five of the next seven games away from home Thursday night at South Alabama.
UALR leads the Sun Belt Conference West Division entering Saturday’s games, and the Trojans were picked to finish third in the division in the preseason coaches’ poll before the start of the year.
Saturday'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.
Saturday is the Critter Classic at E.A. Diddle Arena, and fans who bring items on the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society wish list to donate to help the animal shelter will receive a free ticket to the game. The 1992-93 men's basketball team, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, will be recognized for its 20th anniversary at the game, and WKU's throwback uniforms from Thursday night will be raffled off at halftime.
Youth involved in Big Red's Rascals and the Upward program will receive a free ticket to Saturday's game, and friends and family can purchase additional tickets for $7.00 each. As a part of Faith and Family Day, all church organization members can purchase reduced price tickets for $7.00.
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 (11-8, 5-3 SBC) vs. UALR (11-9, 5-4 SBC)
January 19, 2013 // 5:00 PM (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. // E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
• WKU has won 13 of its last 14 home games.
• WKU’s rebounding average of 38.5 per game is its best since the 2003-04 squad pulled down 38.8 rebounds per game as a team.
• A win on Saturday would give WKU three-straight Sun Belt Conference home weekend sweeps, dating back to the end of last season.
• WKU’s scoring margin is 10.0 points per game better than at this point one season ago.
• T.J. Price ranks fifth in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring in conference games.
• With a win on Thursday, WKU matched 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 70-17 (Southern Miss, 14-4; Iowa, 12-5; Murray State, 13-4; VCU, 15-3; Louisville, 16-1).
• Brandon Harris has played all but 15 minutes of the last nine Hilltopper games.
• Teeng Akol is five 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 snapped a three-game losing skid Thursday night with a 72-49 win over Louisiana-Lafayette at E.A. Diddle Arena, as the Hilltoppers held a Sun Belt Conference opponent to fewer than 50 points for the first time in nearly three seasons. The win is WKU’s eighth in the last 10 games against the Ragin’ Cajuns. Brandon Harris led WKU with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Three other Hilltoppers were in double figures, including Teeng Akol with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. T.J. Price added 13 points, three assists and had no turnovers in a team-high 37 minutes, and George Fant contributed 10 points and six rebounds. Percy Blade grabbed 10 rebounds from the guard position, and Aleksejs Rostov contributed seven points and five rebounds in 27 minutes. Louisiana-Lafayette was led by Elfrid Payton’s 14 points and 11 points and 14 rebounds from Shawn Long. WKU shot 42.1 percent as a team in the game (24-for-57) and limited the Ragin’ Cajuns to 28.8 percent shooting.
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS
• Brandon Harris has 31 assists and just eight turnovers in conference games, and he is averaging 33.9 minutes per game in those contests.
• Brandon Harris is averaging 11.0 points and 7.4 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 seven games.
• George Fant has started each of his last 28 games played.
• T.J. Price has scored in double figures in 15 of his last 18 games.
• George Fant has had at least 10 points in 17 of his last 24 games.
• T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 22 of his last 31 games.
• Teeng Akol is averaging 9.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game when coming off the bench.
• 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 nine of its last 15 games and 18 of its last 27 games overall.
• WKU has used 11 different starting lineups in 19 games in 2012-13.
• WKU is 18-6 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 13 games.
• WKU has outrebounded 12 of its last 15 opponents and is 19-4 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.