Bowling Green, Ky. — Four starters scored in double digits Monday while the bench supplied 50 points to help lead Western Kentucky University to a 102-52 men’s basketball exhibition victory over Kentucky State at E.A. Diddle Arena.
A.J. Slaughter led the Hilltoppers (2-0 exhibition) with 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting, Courtney Lee needed just 17 minutes to add 12, Tyrone Brazelton scored 11 and D.J. Magley had 10 as WKU won its ninth consecutive preseason contest. Boris Siakam supplied 10 points and six rebounds in relief as all 13 players who saw the floor scored at least four points.
The Toppers also used 17 steals — six individuals recorded two or more — in collecting 43 points of turnovers.
Ryan Allen posted a double-double with game-high totals of 17 points and 11 rebounds to pace KSU (0-1 exhibition). No other Thorobred reached double figures in the scoring column as Tony Johnson collected nine points.
Steffphon Pettigrew and Mike Walker both grabbed seven rebounds, also combining for 13 points, in leading WKU to a 45-34 edge on the glass. Magley chipped in with five boards and Slaughter four.
In addition to shooting 49.3 percent from the field, the Hilltoppers made 25-of-30 (83.3 percent) foul shots while limiting KSU to a 31.6 field-goal percentage.
WKU will open the regular season against Kennesaw State Friday at 8:30 p.m. (CST) at Diddle Arena in the first of three straight home contests to begin the year. The Toppers began the 2006-07 campaign with a 96-55 road victory over the Owls.
“I was really pleased with our guys’ effort in terms of how hard they played tonight. We played with a lot of intensity,” said Hilltopper head coach Darrin Horn. “I think we made some strides in areas we were looking to improve in, but we still have a very long way to go. It was good to get everyone some experience and some minutes, though.”
For the second straight preseason contest, WKU used a bevy of turnovers — the Thorobreds committed 23 in the opening half and 36 overall — to build an early insurmountable lead. Brazelton recorded five points and Slaughter had four as the Toppers raced out to a 15-2 advantage before the first media time-out, with WKU benefitting from five KSU miscues during that time.
The lead was 19 midway through the half after Jeremy Evans connected on 1-of-2 free throws to make the score 27-8, while Ty Rogers pushed the edge to 34-14 with a three-pointer from the right wing at 7:13. WKU was up 38-19 with just under six minutes remaining before the half, and a 15-1 run to close out the period gave the Hilltoppers a 53-20 advantage going into the locker room.
Brazelton and Slaughter both scored in double digits prior to the break with 11 and 10 points, respectively, as WKU outshot the ’Breds 59.4-30.4 percent from the field in addition to scoring 30 points off turnovers. Ten Toppers scored in the opening 20 minutes, while five combined for 11 steals.
WKU led by more than 40 with 11-and-a-half minutes remaining when Slaughter’s layup made the score 78-37, which was actually part of a 14-2 spurt that ended when Pettigrew collected two baskets around a Japeth Aguilar alley-oop dunk on a pass from Orlando Mendez-Valdez to put the Hilltoppers up 86-39.
Mendez-Valdez paced all players with six assists.
The Toppers’ final eight points came from Desire Gabou and Adam Howard, who scored four apiece while making all six free-throw attempts in the last two-and-a-half minutes.
In addition to the 17 steals WKU also blocked 10 shots led by Evans, who was credited with three including a pair in the first 50 seconds of the contest. He saw 13 minutes of action after sitting out WKU’s first exhibition game last week.