BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU starts a three-game homestand Saturday night against Florida Atlantic, and a win on Saturday would equal last season’s regular season win total and be WKU’s 13-straight victory at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Hilltoppers will be looking to get back on the winning track in conference play after losing back-to-back games in Arkansas last week. Each of the last six meetings in the series between WKU and Florida Atlantic have been decided by single digits, and the Hilltoppers have won four of the last five games contested in Bowling Green.
The Hilltoppers sit third in the Sun Belt Conference East Division standings entering Saturday’s games, and a win would help WKU keep pace with division leaders Middle Tennessee and South Alabama.
The Owls are led by senior guard Greg Gantt, a Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team selection and the league’s leading scorer this season at 22.5 points per game.
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.
It will be Youth League Day at E.A. Diddle Arena Saturday night, and all youth involved in a youth sports league will receive a complimentary ticket to the game. Friends and family may purchase additional 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 (10-7, 4-2 SBC) vs. Florida Atlantic (8-9, 3-3 SBC)
January 12, 2013 // 7:00 PM (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. // E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
• WKU’s 17 games played so far this season are fifth-most in the nation, and its 654 total rebounds rank fifth in the country.
• WKU has won 12-straight home games after losing four-in-a-row before that, which is the 13th-longest active home court winning streak in the nation.
• WKU’s current 12-game home winning streak is its longest since winning 15-in-a-row at E.A. Diddle Arena spanning the end of the 2007-08 season (1), the entire 2008-09 season (13) and the start of the 2009-10 campaign (1).
• With a win on Saturday, WKU would match last season’s regular season win total 45 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 61-17 (Southern Miss, 12-4; Iowa, 11-5; Murray State, 11-4; VCU, 13-3; Louisville, 14-1).
• WKU has made at least nine three-pointers in each of its last four games.
• Brandon Harris has played all but six minutes of the last seven Hilltopper games.
• Teeng Akol is 10 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
For the second-straight game WKU erased a double-digit first-half deficit to take a lead, but a hot-shooting Arkansas State team downed the Hilltoppers in the second half last Saturday night in Jonesboro, Ark., 75-61. Aleksejs Rostov led WKU with 17 points, and the freshman hit five three-pointers, both career highs. T.J. Price added 11 points, and Brandon Harris had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Harris has now led WKU in rebounding in five-straight games, and with 39 minutes played on Saturday he has now played all but six minutes of the last seven Hilltopper contests. Ed Townsel scored 25 points to lead Arkansas State, and two others were in double figures. The Hilltoppers buried 11 three-pointers as a team, a season high, and the squad has now hit at least nine three-pointers in four-straight games. WKU shot 43.1 percent as a team (22-for-51), and Arkansas State scored at a 47.4 percent clip (27-for-57).
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS
• Brandon Harris has 23 assists and just five turnovers in conference games, and he is averaging 33.3 minutes per game in those contests.
• Brandon Harris is averaging 12.8 points and 8.2 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-straight games.
• George Fant has started each of his last 26 games played.
• T.J. Price has scored in double figures in 13 of his last 16 games.
• George Fant has had at least 10 points in 15 of his last 22 games.
• T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 20 of his last 29 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 13 games and 17 of its last 25 games overall.
• WKU has used 10 different starting lineups in 17 games in 2012-13.
• WKU is 17-5 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 11 games.
• WKU has outrebounded 11 of its last 13 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 16 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 35 of its last 42 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.