WKU trailed Murray State by 14 points midway through the first half, but the Hilltoppers outscored the Racers 43-31 in the second 20 minutes to complete the comeback and take a 71-64 decision Saturday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU trailed Murray State by 14 points midway through the first half, but the Hilltoppers outscored the Racers 43-31 in the second 20 minutes to complete the comeback and take a 71-64 decision Saturday afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena. WKU improves to 7-4 with the win, and Murray State falls to 5-6.
The win improved WKU's record in the all-time series between the two longtime rivals to 98-53 and 59-13 in Bowling Green. WKU has now won 11-straight non-conference home games.
Chris Harrison-Docks led WKU with 16 points, and T.J. Price added 15, all of which came in the final 11:59 of the game. George Fant and Trency Jackson added 14 apiece for the Hilltoppers, who outrebounded Murray State in the game, 39-30. The Racers saw 25 points from T.J. Sapp and 24 points from Jarvis Williams.
The Hilltoppers had just nine turnovers in the game for the second time in the last four outings, only two of which came in the second half.
A quick 9-0 Murray State scoring burst gave the Racers an early 16-8 lead as WKU missed four-straight field goals. It extended to a 13-0 Murray State run and seven-straight missed field goals for WKU, causing the Hilltoppers to call timeout trailing 20-8. The lead ballooned to as large as 14 points at 24-10 with 9:23 to go in the first half.
After Murray State led 27-14, WKU went on a 7-0 run of its own capped by a Harrison-Docks three-pointer to make the score 27-21. The Hilltoppers got within five points in the final minutes, and the teams went to the halftime locker room with Murray State on top 33-28.
WKU went 11-for-34 from the floor in the first half (.324), and Murray State shot 46.4 percent (13-for-28). The Racers scored 12 points off seven WKU turnovers.
WKU took its first lead since 8-7 in the first half, 45-44, after a T. Price layup with 10:42 left in the game. Shortly after that, the Hilltoppers went on a 9-0 run to take an 11-point lead at 66-55, its largest of the game.
The Racers clawed within six points on two occasions in the final 92 seconds of the game, but WKU made five free throws to seal the victory.
WKU finished the game shooting 40.0 percent (26-for-65) from the floor. WKU made 13 of 17 free throw attempts (.765), giving the Hilltoppers five games of shooting better than 75.0 percent from the charity stripe in the first 11 games of the season and equaling the total from all of last season.
After a week off for the Christmas holiday, the Hilltoppers continue their four-game homestand on Saturday, December 28 against Brescia (Ky.). It will be Fan Appreciation Day at E.A. Diddle Arena, and all fans can purchase reserved bleacher tickets for $7.00 each instead of the usual $12.00. Also, it will be Education Day, and all students grades K-8 can get a complimentary ticket to the game. In addition, the Party One Zone for Kids will be open in the upper concourse, as it will be every Saturday home game throughout the season.
Next Saturday's game will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network, airing nationally on ESPN3 with ESPN Full Court clearance to be determined in the coming days, and regionally on WKU PBS and WBNA. It will also be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network, airing locally in Bowling Green on WKLX-FM Sam 100.7, with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call.
Single-game tickets for the 2013-14 season and various multiple-game packages are on sale now. Fans interested in purchasing single-game tickets or multiple-game packages can call the WKU Ticket Office at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally, or order online at WKUSports.com.