Pay Back Time
The last time Western Kentucky lost a game was to visiting Florida Atlantic back on January 15th at Diddle Arena. It concluded the Hilltoppers worst conference start in 38 seasons.
Tonight they got a pay back, defeating the Owls (16-7, 8-1) on their court 57-53 before a season high 2,734 at FAU Arena, and dashing FAU’s hopes of setting a program record for most consecutive wins.
“It was nice to have a lively crowd; I wish we had given them a lot more to cheer about”, said Coach Mike Jarvis. “You have to get them into the game early and we didn’t do that tonight.”
The Owls were ice cold in the first half, shooting only 16.7% from beyond the arc (2-12), and allowing the Toppers out to their largest lead at 30-15 with 4:24 to play in the period.
WKU (9-11, 4-4) on the other hand clipped along at 54% overall and 6-of-7 from long range to eventually lead 33-21 at the break.
“Too many missed opportunities, too many threes tonight. But the big guys weren’t getting it done, so sometimes you have to resort to something you really don’t want to do”, Jarvis said.
Kore White, who averaged 9.8ppg coming into the contest, was held scoreless in 18 minutes of action.
Opening the second half with a 12-2 run FAU closed the gap to 35-33, only to see Steffphon Pettigrew’s lay-up complete a WKU counter that pushed the margin to eight points.
“We just didn’t make the big plays at that time when we had the momentum, and that was the difference I think in the game”, commented Jarvis.
The Owls had a chance to tie late after Brett Royster was fouled on a dunk attempt by WKU’s Juan Patillo. But Royster (14 points, eight rebounds) connected on just one of two attempts, leaving FAU behind 49-48.
The Hilltoppers then pulled away for the win.
Despite giving up almost four rebounds per game coming into the contest, FAU came out ahead on the glass.
Ray Taylor and Greg Gantt were each in double figures with 14, and 12 points respectively.
The Owls next take on Sun Belt western division opponent North Texas (16-6, 5-4) this Thursday at the Super Pit. Tip-off time is 8:00 p.m.
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