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GAME NOTES: Fresh off win over UTEP, Tops host UTSA

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball stays at home this weekend to host UTSA at 3 p.m. CT Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Hilltoppers (10-11, 4-4 Conference USA), who are enjoying a stretch of 7 of 11 games at home to end the regular season, are coming off a 65-62 victory over UTEP on Thursday. WKU is 7-1 at home this season.

UTSA (9-11, 4-3) most recently lost 92-71 at Marshall on Thursday. The Roadrunners are 8-0 at home this season under first-year coach Steve Henson, but 1-11 on the road.

WKU is 2-0 all-time against UTSA, while head coach Rick Stansbury has never faced the Roadrunners.

GAME 22

UTSA (9-11, 4-3 C-USA) at WKU (10-11, 4-4 C-USA)
January 28, 2017 | 3 p.m. (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. | E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)

BROADCAST

Listen: Hilltopper IMG Sports Network (WKLX 100.7 FM flagship), TuneIn Radio (free) (Randy Lee, pxp | Hal Schmitt, analysis)
Watch: Fox College Sports, WKU PBS, WBNA (radio simulcast)
Live Stats: Gametracker

QUICK SHOTS

• WKU is 56-16 (.778) at E.A. Diddle Arena over the last four-plus seasons after going 27-17 (.614) in the three seasons prior. The Hilltoppers are 580-163 all-time at Diddle Arena for a .781 winning percentage.
• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 927 consecutive games, dating back to March 15, 1987. The 3-point shot was instituted prior to the 1986-87 season.
• WKU has had an even or better assist-to-turnover ratio in seven of its last 11 games, including five of the last seven. The Hilltoppers accomplished that feat just twice in their first 10 games this season.
• WKU has made more free throws (307) than its opponents have attempted (299). The Hilltoppers’ 31 makes vs. North Carolina A&T were their most since netting 33 vs. Ball State on Feb. 22, 2003.
• Junior Justin Johnson has made 17 of 37 shots (.459) from 3-point range this year after netting just one 3-pointer over his first two seasons. His 55.8 percent career field goal shooting percentage would currently tie for fifth in WKU history, and his 57.3 shooting percentage in league play ranks third in C-USA.
• Graduate senior Pancake Thomas has recorded 37 total assists with just 13 turnovers over his last 11 games. He had 17 assists and 14 turnovers across his first 10 games as a Hilltoppers. In Conference USA play, Thomas is tied for fourth in the league with a 2.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• Graduate senior Que Johnson shot 67.3 percent from the free-throw line with 17 assists and 29 turnovers in nonconference play. He’s shooting 81.8 percent from the stripe with 24 assists and 12 turnovers in C-USA.
• In WKU’s eight conference games, senior forward Anton Waters is shooting 63.6 percent from the field with six assists and six turnovers. He shot 48.3 percent with two assists and 17 turnovers in nonconference play.
• Justin Johnson and graduate transfer seniors Que Johnson, Pancake Thomas and Junior Lomomba have each started every game this season. WKU hasn’t had at least four players start every game in a season since the 2002-03 campaign.
• Que Johnson, Pancake Thomas and Junior Lomomba have all reached the 100th career game milestone this season. Senior Ben Lawson (99 games) will hit the benchmark in his next outing.
• Pancake Thomas and Que Johnson have each reached 1,000 career points this season. Thomas reached 1,000 across his time at New Mexico, Hartford and WKU vs. UTEP on Jan. 26, 2017. Que Johnson reached 1,000 points across his time at WKU and Washington State vs. Ohio on Dec. 21, 2016.
• Justin Johnson needs 62 points this season to become the 49th player in Hilltopper Basketball history to score 1,000 career points.
• Ben Lawson ranks fourth in WKU history with 163 career blocked shots. His 66 blocks in 2015-16 were the seventh-most in a season in Hilltopper history. Lawson joins Wilborn, Jeremy Evans and Chris Marcus as Hilltoppers with at least 50 blocks in multiple seasons.

ROBINSON NAMED WKU’S FIRST MCDONALD’S ALL AMERICAN

WKU signee Mitchell Robinson was named a McDonald’s All American on Jan. 27, the first in program history. Robinson – a 7-foot, five-star center from Chalmette (La.) High School – is one of 24 players nationally selected for the prestigious all-star game, which brings together the top high school talent across the country and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The final roster was announced live on ESPNU, with Robinson selected for the East squad. The McDonald’s All American Game is set for March 29 at the United Center in Chicago.

WKU has never had a McDonald’s All American in its storied basketball history. Robinson is the first McDonald’s All American from Conference USA since Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin in 2012. Robinson is also the sixth McDonald’s All American signed by WKU’s Rick Stansbury as a head coach, joining standouts Mario Austin, Renardo Sidney, Monta Ellis, Travis Outlaw and Jonathan Bender from Stansbury’s tenure at Mississippi State. Fellow WKU signees Josh Anderson and Taveion Hollingsworth were also nominated for the McDonald’s All American Game.

Robinson was recently named one of 25 midseason candidates for the boys’ high school Naismith Trophy, as presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Ten semifinalists for that national award will be announced Feb. 7. He was also named to the 24-player roster for the Jordan Brand Classic, which takes place April 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

TAKING CARE OF THE CLASSROOM

Despite a changing coaching staff and large roster turnover, the Hilltoppers turned in a stellar academic effort in the Fall 2016 semester with a team GPA of 3.18. Nine players finished the semester with a GPA of 3.0 or better – including five players with at least a 3.5 – and all players finished with at least a 2.5 GPA.

PROMOTIONS

Coaches vs. Cancer: American Cancer Society to collect donations at each entrance for the ACS. All coaches will wear suits and sneakers for the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative.

TICKETS

WKU Ticket Office: Online at WKUTickets.com, in person at E.A. Diddle Arena, via phone at 1-800-5-BIG Red or 745-5222 locally.

MED CENTER HEALTH

The 2016-17 WKU Basketball season is presented by Med Center Health. With The Medical Center at its core, Med Center Health has served Southcentral Kentucky for 90 years, and its system of care includes six acute care hospitals, a complete network of immediate to emergency services and services in dozens of specialties. Whether it is emergency treatment for heart attack victims or preventative programs to improve the health of the communities it serves, Med Center Health is committed to providing the highest level of care and service.

How to follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Basketball, follow the team’s social media channels, @WKUBasketball on Twitter, @WKUBasketball on Instagram, and WKU Basketball on Facebook.

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