McHenry and Allen lead WKU in 86-81 win over Murray State

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WKU is banning tobacco and vaping products beginning Jan. 1 on all properties owned, operated, leased, occupied or controlled by Western.(Western Kentucky University)
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 1:35 AM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - WKU men’s basketball secured an 86-81 road win over Murray State on Tuesday night at CFSB Center in Murray, Ky.

Don McHenry and Dontaie Allen led the team in scoring with 22 and 18 points respectively as the Hilltoppers improve to 2-1 on the season.

The tops started fast with a 6-0 lead out the gate. Rodney Howard connected on a layup to open scoring for the evening. McHenry and Howard combined for the team’s first eight points.

A 2-point FG off a fast break by Brandon Newman followed by another layup in the paint by McHenry gave WKU a 12-7 lead with 15:48 to play in the first.

Allen checked in to the game near the 14-minute mark and hit from range for his first FG of the evening to give the Tops a 22-11 lead. The redshirt senior would chart a 4-6 mark from the field with 10 points entering the half.

Newman shot 4-7 from the field and led the team in scoring with 11 points at halftime. Entering the second period with a 43-34 lead following the strong first half, the Tops struggled to find the bottom of the net through the first five minutes of play in the second and Murray State battled back to gain its first lead of game, 46-43.

Allen broke the scoring drought with a deep-range three at the 14:33 mark to reclaim a 46-46 tie. The teams traded buckets for the next 10 minutes of play, with Khristian Lander tallying a total of 12 points in the second half for the Tops. The senior ended the night as the team’s third-leading scorer.

The Racers struggled to find an answer for McHenry, as the junior college transfer from Milwaukee continued his impressive performance into the second period while charting an additional 14 points to go with 2 assists and a perfect 8-8 mark at the stripe.

Falling behind one point late with 4:29 to play, Lander drew a foul and connected on both to regain a 71-70 lead in the Tops’ favor. Capitalizing off a turnover by the Racers, Allen drained a 3-point jumper to extend the WKU lead, 74-70.

Murray State tied the game once more, 74-74, before a 2-point bucket by Howard gave WKU the lead again with 2:14 left in regulation. Enoch Kalambay notched a pair of free throws to give the Hilltoppers a four-point lead, 78-74.

McHenry and Allen iced the game late as the duo accounted for the final eight points of the night including 6-6 free throws.

The 86-81 victory earns WKU its 55th win in a 90-game series with Murray State dating back to the 1949-50 season. With a total of 90 head-to-head matchups facing the Racers, the WKU-Murray State series is the 3rd most-played series in Hilltopper Basketball history since 1949-50.

Hilltopper Basketball returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 18 hosting Kentucky State. Tipoff from E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky. is slated for 7 p.m. CT.