BOWLING GREEN, Ky — A crowd of 7,523 at E.A. Diddle Arena, the largest non-conference home crowd for WKU since the arena renovations in 2002-03, was treated to a top-notch college basketball game Monday night, as Ole Miss earned a 79-74 win over WKU in a game that featured six ties and 13 lead changes.
The loss moves WKU's record to 8-5 entering Sun Belt Conference play later this week. Ole Miss improves to 9-3. The crowd was the third-largest overall since the arena renovations 12 seasons ago. WKU is now 12-1 in the non-conference portion of the last two seasons.
T.J. Price led WKU with 26 points thanks in part to a career high-tying six three-pointers, and George Fant tied a career best with 14 rebounds to go along with 13 points. WKU won the rebounding battle 41-34, and the Hilltoppers hit a season-high 12 three-point field goals in the game. Jarvis Summers led Ole Miss with 24 points, and Marshall Henderson had 23 with seven three-pointers.
WKU came out blazing in the first half, making seven of its first eight three-point field goal attempts and taking a 29-15 lead over the Rebels at one point. But Ole Miss rattled off 11-straight after that to come within three points at 29-26, before Caden Dickerson ended the run with a jump shot. The Rebels then scored six more in a row to make it a 17-2 run and take its first lead of the game at 32-31 on a Henderson three-pointer.
T. Price led the Hilltoppers with 11 first-half points, and Trency Jackson added six. Henderson led all scorers with 12 points. The Rebels shot 51.9 percent as a team in the opening 20 minutes (14-for-27), and WKU fired at a 40.0 percent clip (12-for-30).
WKU led 60-57 in the second half before Ole Miss scored six-in-a-row to lead 63-60, and WKU would only tie it in the final 5:09. The Hilltoppers got within two with 2:04 to go, but the Rebels made seven of their last eight free throw attempts to seal the win.
The second half alone had 12 lead changes. WKU finished the game shooting 40.0 percent (22-for-55) and 42.9 percent from distance (12-for-28). Ole Miss ended the game at 45.0 percent overall (27-for-60) and hit nine of 16 three-point tries (.563).