BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Despite 21 points by T.J. Price, WKU dropped a 67-49 decision to Arkansas State Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena, ending a bid for three-straight Sun Belt Conference victories. The loss drops WKU to 13-12 overall and 7-7 in the Sun Belt Conference, and Arkansas State moves to 15-9 and 9-6 in the league with the win.
A season high 5,862 fans were on hand on a night in which WKU honored the All-Diddle Arena Team and welcomed back the 2002-03 NCAA Tournament team celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The win was Arkansas State's first in Bowling Green in the last 11 tries dating back to the 1997-98 season.
T.J. Price led WKU with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting, and he also led WKU in rebounding with seven and in assists with four. It was Price's fifth 20-point game of the season and sixth of his career, and he has now led WKU in scoring a team high nine times this season. Arkansas State was led by Trey Finn's 23 points and six three-pointers, and Brandon Peterson had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Despite missing its first nine shots of the game, WKU trailed by just five points at halftime, 30-25. Down 22-9, WKU went on an 8-3 run over 5:23 to bring the score to 25-17 in favor of Arkansas State. A Price three-pointer from deep brought the Hilltoppers to within eight at that point, and WKU had it to five at 30-25 a few minutes later after back-to-back three-pointers by Teeng Akol and Jamal Crook.
WKU went 8-for-17 from the floor (.471) after starting the game 0-for-9, and the two teams combined to make nine first-half three-pointers. WKU was outrebounded in the opening 20 minutes, 19-18, and Price led the Hilltopper with 10 points and five rebounds. Two Red Wolves were in double figures.
The Red Wolves outscored WKU 37-24 in the second half en route to the 67-49 victory. Two separate scoring runs did in the Hilltoppers, as a 7-0 Arkansas State burst made the score 42-29 and an 8-0 run gave the Red Wolves a 16-point lead at 63-47.
WKU never led in the game, and Arkansas State scored 20 points off 11 WKU turnovers.
WKU finished the game shooting 32.0 percent (16-for-50), and Arkansas State converted at a 42.3 percent clip (22-for-52). The Red Wolves won the battle of the boards, 40-30.
WKU travels to Florida next week for two games, beginning Thursday at 6:00 PM (CT) at Florida Atlantic. After the game against the Owls and Saturday's 6:30 PM (CT) game at FIU, the Hilltoppers return to E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday, February 21 to face ULM.
Both games in Florida will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network, airing nationally on ESPN3, regionally on WKYU-PBS and in Louisville on WBNA. Clearance on ESPN Full Court will be determined in the coming days. The games will also be broadcast on the radio on the Hilltopper IMG Sports Network with Randy Lee and Hal Schmitt on the call.
Tickets for the 2012-13 WKU basketball season are on sale now and can be purchased online at WKUSports.com or by calling the WKU Ticket Office at 1-800-5-BIG RED or 745-5222 locally.