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GAME NOTES: Toppers finish road swing at Old Dominion

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball plays its final road game of the regular season at Old Dominion at 6 p.m. CT Saturday in Norfolk, Va.

The Hilltoppers (13-15, 7-8 Conference USA) are coming off an 83-77 loss at Charlotte on Thursday, in which WKU rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half but couldn’t hold on.

Old Dominion (17-10, 10-5) has won three straight games, including Thursday’s 85-65 win over Marshall. The Monarchs lead the all-time series 17-16, including 2-9 in Norfolk.

WKU head coach Rick Stansbury is 1-1 all-time against Old Dominion.

GAME 29

WKU (13-15, 7-8 C-USA) at Old Dominion (17-10, 10-5 C-USA)
February 25, 2017 | 6 p.m. (CT)
Norfolk, Va. | Ted Constant Convocation Center (9,520)

BROADCAST

Listen: Hilltopper IMG Sports Network (WKLX 100.7 FM flagship), TuneIn Radio (free) (Randy Lee, pxp | Hal Schmitt, analysis)
Watch: ESPN3 (online stream) (Ted Alexander, pxp | Dave Twardzik, analysis)
Live Stats: Old Dominion Stats

QUICK SHOTS

• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 934 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 13 of its last 18 games, including 11 of the last 14. The Hilltoppers accomplished that feat just twice in their first 10 games this season.
• WKU has attempted 163 more free throws (572) and made 89 more (381) than its opponents. 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 21 of 55 shots (.382) from 3-point range this year after netting just one 3-pointer over his first two seasons. His 56.1 percent career field goal shooting percentage would currently rank fifth in WKU history, and his 57.7 shooting percentage in league play leads C-USA. Johnson is averaging 17.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists over his last nine games.
• Justin Johnson is the first Hilltopper with at least four games of 14-plus rebounds in a season since Nigel Dixon in 2003-04. He could become the first WKU player to shoot at least 50 percent from the field and make at least 20 3-pointers in a season since Orlando Mendez-Valdez in 2006-07.
• In his last two games, Justin Johnson has made 19 of 22 shots (86.4 percent) from inside the arc.
• Graduate senior Pancake Thomas has recorded 57 total assists with just 23 turnovers over his last 17 games. He had 17 assists and 14 turnovers across his first 10 games as a Hilltoppers. Thomas is tied for third in C-USA in league play with a 2.4-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 80.9 percent from the stripe with 34 assists and 26 turnovers in C-USA.
• In WKU’s 15 conference games, senior forward Anton Waters is shooting 55 percent from the field with seven assists and 12 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.
• Justin Johnson became the 49th member of WKU’s 1,000-point club on Feb. 11 against Marshall, and he now ranks 43rd on WKU’s all-time scoring list. Graduate transfers Que Johnson and Pancake Thomas also reached 1,000 career points this season, giving the Hilltoppers three players with 1,000 career points for the first time since A.J. Slaughter, Jeremy Evans and Steffphon Pettigrew in 2009-10.
• Senior forward Ben Lawson ranks fourth in WKU history with 177 career blocked shots. Lawson joins Wilborn, Jeremy Evans and Chris Marcus as Hilltoppers with at least 50 blocks in multiple seasons. With one more block, he’ll join Evans as the only Tops with three seasons of at least 50 blocks.

LAST GAME AGAINST OLD DOMINION: JANUARY 7, 2017

Zoran Talley was 10 of 14 from the floor for a career-high 23 points as Old Dominion took control in the second half to beat Western Kentucky 79-67 at E.A. Diddle Arena. WKU was up 35-31 at the break and pushed that to 46-35 at the 15:23 mark. B.J. Stith hit a jumper and Ahmad Carver drilled a trey to start a 32-9 run as the Monarchs dominated the second half to cruise to the win. Que Johnson led WKU with 24 points.

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. At the end of January, Robinson was named one of 24 players for the Jordan Brand Classic, another star-studded all-star game that takes place April 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Previous participants include LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.

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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