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GAME NOTES: Hilltoppers set for trip to La. Tech on Thursday

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — After winning two home games without ever trailing, WKU Hilltopper Basketball hits the road again for a trip to LA Tech at 7 p.m. CT Thursday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Hilltoppers (11-11, 5-4 Conference USA) are coming off back-to-back victories over UTEP and UTSA, improving to 8-1 this year at E.A. Diddle Arena.

LA Tech (14-8, 6-3) started league play 6-1 before dropping road contests at UAB and Middle Tennessee. The Bulldogs are 10-2 at home this season. WKU is 16-14 all-time against its longtime conference foe, including a 96-90 overtime win last year at home.

Hilltopper head coach Rick Stansbury is 3-0 in his career against LA Tech.

GAME 23

WKU (11-11, 5-4 C-USA) at LA Tech (14-8, 6-3 C-USA)
February 2, 2017 | 7 p.m. (CT)
Ruston, La. | Thomas Assembly Center (8,000)

BROADCAST

Listen: Hilltopper IMG Sports Network (WKLX 100.7 FM flagship), TuneIn Radio (free) (Randy Lee, pxp | Hal Schmitt, analysis)
Watch: beIN SPORTS (Mike Gleason, pxp | Jason Capel, analysis | Andrea Cespedes, sideline)
Live Stats: Gametracker

QUICK SHOTS

• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 928 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 eight of its last 12 games, including six of the last eight. The Hilltoppers accomplished that feat just twice in their first 10 games this season.
• WKU has made more free throws (320) than its opponents have attempted (319). 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 19 of 40 shots (.475) from 3-point range this year after netting just one 3-pointer over his first two seasons. His 55.9 percent career field goal shooting percentage would currently rank fifth in WKU history, and his 58.0 shooting percentage in league play ranks third in C-USA. Johnson is shooting 62.1 percent from the field over his last six games.
• Graduate senior Pancake Thomas has recorded 40 total assists with just 14 turnovers over his last 12 games. He had 17 assists and 14 turnovers across his first 10 games as a Hilltoppers. In Conference USA play, Thomas is third in the league with a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• In 10 games since the holiday break, Pancake Thomas is averaging 15.4 points per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from 3-point range.
• 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 80.6 percent from the stripe with 26 assists and 13 turnovers in C-USA.
• In WKU’s nine conference games, senior forward Anton Waters is shooting 60 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, Junior Lomomba and Ben Lawson have all reached the 100th career game milestone this season. Lawson played his 100th game as a Hilltopper against UTSA on Jan. 28, 2017.
• 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 41 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 164 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.

LAST GAME AGAINST LA TECH: MARCH 5, 2016

Aaron Cosby scored a career-high 34 points and 7-foot-1 Ben Lawson swatted away two shots in the last 20 seconds as WKU battled past Louisiana Tech 96-90 in overtime at E.A. Diddle Arena. Lawson threw down a dunk with four seconds left in regulation to tie at 79-79, and WKU scored the first six points of overtime.

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.

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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