Hilltoppers lose fifth straight after falling to FAU 70-63

WKU drops fifth straight to No. 21 FAU
Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 8:02 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The WKU Men’s Basketball team lost its fifth straight after falling to FAU. An uneven 3-point shooting night caused the Hilltoppers to fall 70-63 to the No. 21 Owls. They extended their winning streak to 20 games, the longest active streak in the nation.

“There’s no moral victories, but I wanted to see us fight,” said head coach Rick Stansbury. “I wanted to see us stay together for 40 minutes and not splinter. It’s easier said than done, but it seems like that’s happened in the second half a lot. We’re coming here playing a team that’s won 20 in a row, longest streak in the country. They’re a really good team. But, I couldn’t have been more proud of this team’s effort. Most importantly, they stayed together and they kept battling.”

The first 15 points of the game were scored from beyond the arc, creating a 9-6 lead for FAU. The two 3-pointers the Hilltoppers sank to start off the game would be their lone two for the entire game. WKU scored five straight to take a one-point, 13-12 lead by the 13:02 mark.

Midway through the period, it became a back-and-forth game. FAU stepped up behind the arc, netting three in four attempts. Each time the Owls made a triple, Jordan Rawls and Dayvion McKnight had a response in favor of the Hilltoppers.

WKU was able to score seven straight over the course of two minutes to take a lead of 30-28 with 50 seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately, two turnovers by the Hilltoppers led to the Owls scoring seven of their own to close out the half and regain a lead of 35-30.

After halftime, FAU initially scored a 3-pointer, but then Emmanuel Akot came alive for the Hilltoppers. He scored six straight over a minute and a half to cut into the Owl lead, making it just 38-36.

Florida Atlantic’s Johnnell Davis had the biggest response, netting two 3′s as the Owls went on an 8-2 make their advantage larger at 46-38.

As the Owls pushed their lead to nine, WKU strung together six straight points to cut it to three with 3:13 remaining. The Tops would cut it to three once more, 63-60, with 1:56 on the clock, but never came closer.

Tough calls down the stretch didn’t go the Hilltoppers’ way as Vladislav Goldin also scored his first points of the night. He scored all six of his points in the final 2:23 of the game, and his teammates only scored three in that time frame.

Florida Atlantic hit 13 triples compared to WKU’s two; six different Owls made a shot beyond the arc with all 10 guys who played putting at least four points on the board.

Akot scored all 16 of his points in the second half, stepping up in a big way for the Red and White. Jordan Rawls had a game-high 17 with 13 of those coming in the first half. He added three assists and two steals as well.

Jamarion Sharp pulled down a career-high 14 boards and did an excellent job on defense against Goldin, holding him to six points and four rebounds.

Brandon Weatherspoon went 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point line, leading the Owls in scoring with 14 points while grabbing six balls off the glass.

WKU will start a three-game homestand on Thursday night beginning with the UTSA Roadrunners. The 7 p.m. CT game will be streamed on ESPN+.