WKU Begins Final Week of Regular Season Thursday Night against South Alabama

By: Michael Schroeder - WKU Athletic Media Relations
By: Michael Schroeder - WKU Athletic Media Relations

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — After back-to-back wins last week, the Hilltoppers return to E.A. Diddle Arena for the final two games of the 2012-13 regular season beginning Thursday night at 7:00 against South Alabama.

Seeding for the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Tournament is taking shape, and the Hilltoppers would be the sixth seed if the season ended today, while South Alabama has secured the third seed.

South Alabama leads the all-time series with WKU 33-29, and the Jaguars are the only current Sun Belt Conference team to hold a winning record against WKU. The Hilltoppers have won three of the last four games in Bowling Green against the Jaguars, and WKU has won 15 of its last 18 home games overall.

Including Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee, WKU concludes the regular season with games against the top two teams in the Sun Belt Conference East Division who are a combined 30-6 in league games this season and 41-14 overall. A WKU win on Thursday would equal last season’s win total for the entire campaign, which included four games in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and two in the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday's game will be televised nationally on ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court, regionally 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.

Fans can get two reserved bleacher tickets to Thursday's game for $15.00 and four tickets for $30.00 as part of Thrifty Thursday. There are multiple promotions for students as well, with WKU students attending the game having a chance to win $250 in the U.S. Bank Cash Crawl and receive a free t-shirt at the student entrance.

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.

GAME 30

WKU (15-14, 9-9 SBC) vs. South Alabama (16-10, 13-5 SBC)

February 28, 2013 // 7:00 PM (CT)

Bowling Green, Ky. // E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)

QUICK SHOTS

• T.J. Price or George Fant has led WKU in scoring in seven-straight games.

• WKU is shooting 72.4 percent from the free throw line in the last 10 games after shooting 64.7 percent as a team in the first 19 games of the season.

• WKU has made at least eight three-pointers in three-straight games.

• WKU has won 15 of its last 18 home games.

• Through 13 home games this season, WKU is averaging 853 more fans per game than last.

• Through the same number of games, WKU has four more wins this season compared to last season.

• WKU’s bench is outscoring the opponent’s bench by an average of 6.4 points per game in conference contests.

• T.J. Price ranks eighth in the Sun Belt Conference in scoring average, and Jamal Crook is third in assists per game.

• Jamal Crook needs 15 assists to tie Darrin Horn (1992-95) for sixth place on WKU’s career assists list at 332.

• The combined record of the five non-conference teams that defeated WKU in 2012-13 is 102-35 (Southern Miss, 21-7; Iowa, 17-10; Murray State, 20-7; VCU, 22-6; Louisville, 22-5).

THE LAST TIME OUT

WKU posted one of its best offensive performances of the season en route to an 88-77 win over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday night at the Cajundome to secure a regular season sweep of the Ragin’ Cajuns. The Hilltoppers nailed 10-of-20 shots from behind the three-point arc, one off tying a season- and Ray Harper-era high. For the game, WKU hit 50.0 percent from the field in the win. T.J. Price and Jamal Crook led WKU in scoring with 23 and 21 points, respectively. Price hit 4-of-7 from three-point range while Crook added six assists to his point production for the evening. George Fant finished with 15 points and nine rebounds in just 27 minutes of play after picking up his fourth foul early in the second half. WKU came out blazing from the floor Saturday night, shooting 63.0 percent in the first 20 minutes (17-for-27) and pouring in 53 points for its highest-scoring half of the season. The Hilltoppers went 6-for-10 from three-point range in the first half, and three players were in double figures in the opening 20 minutes alone.

HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS

• WKU has had at least one 20-point scorer in four of the last five games.

• George Fant is averaging 8.2 rebounds per game in his last five contests.

• George Fant has started each of his last 38 games played.

• T.J. Price has scored in double figures in 22 of his last 28 games.

• George Fant has had at least 10 points in 25 of his last 34 games.

• Brandon Harris has 43 assists and just 16 turnovers in conference games, and he is averaging 31.1 minutes per game in those contests.

• Jamal Crook has had 24 double digit scoring games in 53 games since the start of his junior season after having just one in 63 games in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

HILLTOPPER TEAM TRENDS

• WKU has had at least 15 assists in three-straight games after having 10 or more in just three of the previous eight contests.

• WKU is 12-2 this season when leading at halftime and 14-0 when leading with 5:00 to play and 20-2 overall under head coach Ray Harper.

• WKU is 21-9 under head coach Ray Harper when allowing fewer than 70 points in a game.

• WKU has outrebounded 17 of its last 25 opponents and is 22-6 under head coach Ray Harper when doing so.

• Eight different Hilltoppers have had at least one double-figure scoring game in 2012-13.

• WKU has used 15 different starting lineups in 29 games in 2012-13 and 29 different lineups in the last two seasons.

• WKU has made at least five three-pointers in 19 of the last 23 games.

• WKU has faced a double-digit deficit at one point in 41 of its last 49 losses dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season.

• WKU earned 10 wins before January 1 for the first time since 2006-07.

• WKU’s 4-0 start to Sun Belt Conference play was its best since 2005-06.

• With a win on January 17, WKU matched last season’s regular season win total 40 days earlier than earning last season’s 11th victory.

• 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 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.


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