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GAME NOTES: Hilltoppers prepare for trip to Marshall

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball completes a grueling stretch of 12 of 16 games on the road with a trip to Marshall at 5 p.m. CT Saturday in Huntington, W.Va.

The Hilltoppers are coming off a 91-76 loss at rival Middle Tennessee on Jan. 14. Between Nov. 23 and Jan. 25 – more than two calendar months – WKU will have played just four home games at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Like WKU, Marshall (11-8, 4-2) most recently lost at two of the league favorites, Middle Tennessee and UAB. The Thundering Herd average 87.5 points per game and more than 10 made 3-pointers per contest. WKU leads the all-time series 13-8 but is 3-7 in Huntington.

WKU head coach Rick Stansbury has never faced Marshall.

GAME 20

WKU (9-10, 3-3 C-USA) at Marshall (11-8, 4-2 C-USA)
January 21, 2017 | 5 p.m. (CT)
Huntington, W.Va.| Henderson Center (9,048)

BROADCAST

Listen: Hilltopper IMG Sports Network (WKLX 100.7 FM flagship), TuneIn Radio (free) (Randy Lee, pxp | Hal Schmitt, analysis)
Watch: American Sports Network (WKU PBS) (Jeff McCarragher, pxp | Tim Scarborough, analysis) (Online Stream)
Live Stats: Gametracker

QUICK SHOTS

• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 925 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 six of its last nine games, including four of the last five. The Hilltoppers accomplished that feat just twice in their first 10 games this season.
• WKU has made more free throws (285) than its opponents have attempted (276). 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 15 of 31 shots (.484) from 3-point range this year after netting just one 3-pointer over his first two seasons. His 55.7 percent career field goal shooting percentage would currently rank seventh in WKU history.
• Graduate senior Pancake Thomas has recorded 33 total assists with just 10 turnovers over his last nine games. He had 17 assists and 14 turnovers across his first 10 games as a Hilltoppers. In Conference USA play, Thomas ranks fourth in the league with a 3.3-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 80 percent from the stripe with 17 assists and nine turnovers in C-USA.
• In his first eight games as a Hilltopper, freshman Damari Parris went 4 of 18 from the field and missed all three of his 3-point attempts. In his last seven games, Parris has made 11 of 24 shots and gone 6 of 10 from deep.
• In WKU’s six conference games, reserve forwards Anton Waters and Jabari McGhee are a combined 37 of 66 from the field (56.1 percent).
• 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 (97 games) is also nearing the benchmark.
• Justin Johnson needs 98 points this season to become the 49th player in Hilltopper Basketball history to score 1,000 career points.
• Pancake Thomas needs 14 points to reach 1,000 for his career across his time at New Mexico, Hartford and WKU. Que Johnson reached 1,000 points across his time at WKU and Washington State vs. Ohio on 12/21/16.
• Ben Lawson ranks fifth in WKU history with 160 career blocked shots, just one shy of tying Elgrace Wilborn for fourth. His 66 blocks in 2015-16 were the seventh-most in a season in Hilltopper history. Lawson joins Jeremy Evans, Elgrace Wilborn 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 also 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.

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.

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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