JONESBORO, Ark. — The Hilltoppers dropped an eight-point decision at UALR Thursday night, snapping a six-game conference winning streak dating back to last season, and Saturday’s game will wrap up a road swing in Arkansas before three games at E.A. Diddle Arena beginning next Saturday against Florida Atlantic.
Arkansas State leads the Sun Belt Conference West Division at 3-2 through five games, and the Red Wolves return four starters from a 2011-12 team that went 14-20 including senior guard Trey Finn, who was a Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team selection before the year began.
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.
After playing at Arkansas State, WKU will return to E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday, January 12 against Florida Atlantic.
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 (10-6, 4-1 SBC) at Arkansas State (9-5, 3-2 SBC)
January 5, 2013 // 7:05 PM (CT)
Jonesboro, Ark. // Convocation Center (10,727)
• WKU’s 16 games played so far this season are fifth-most in the nation, and its 624 total rebounds rank fourth in the country.
• WKU earned 10 wins before January 1 for the first time since 2006-07.
• With a win on Saturday, WKU would match last season’s regular season win total 52 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 56-14 (Southern Miss, 11-4; Iowa, 11-3; Murray State, 10-3; VCU, 11-3; Louisville, 13-1).
• Entering this week, WKU led the Sun Belt Conference and ranked 56th in the nation in rebounding margin.
• WKU has made nine three-pointers in each of its last three games.
• Brandon Harris has played all but five minutes of the last six 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’s current 12-game home winning streak is the 10th-longest active streak in the nation entering games on January 1.
• 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 battled back from a 14-point first-half deficit to tie the game at halftime, but UALR made over 50 percent of its shots from the floor in the second half and earned a 75-67 win over the Hilltoppers Thursday night in Little Rock, Ark. The loss snaps WKU’s eight-game winning streak in the series with UALR and ends the Hilltoppers’ unbeaten streak to start conference play, which was its best Sun Belt Conference start since 2005-06. The defeat also snapped WKU’s six-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak dating back to the end of last season. Brandon Harris recorded his second career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and he has now led WKU in rebounding in four-straight games. Harris also played all 40 minutes in the game and has now played all but five minutes of the last six Hilltopper games. Kevin Kaspar had 13 points thanks in part to three three-pointers.
HILLTOPPER INDIVIDUAL TRENDS
• Brandon Harris has 18 assists and just four turnovers in conference games, and he is averaging 32.2 minutes per game in those contests.
• Brandon Harris is averaging 12.2 points 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 four-straight games.
• T.J. Price has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 15 games.
• George Fant has had at least 10 points in 15 of his last 21 games.
• T.J. Price has hit multiple three-pointers in 20 of his last 28 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 12 games and 17 of its last 24 games overall.
• WKU has used 10 different starting lineups in 16 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 nine of the last 10 games.
• WKU has outrebounded 11 of its last 12 opponents and is 18-4 under head coach Ray Harper when doing so.
• WKU has won 12-straight home games after losing four-in-a-row before that.
• 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).
• 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 34 of its last 41 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.