Toppers welcome back 1985-86 and 86-87 squads Saturday

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball will welcome back two standout teams this weekend against Marshall as part of a 30-year anniversary celebration.

The Hilltoppers will be joined by members of the 1985-86 and 1986-87 teams during Saturday’s home game against Marshall at 5 p.m. CT at E.A. Diddle Arena. Both teams will be recognized at halftime.

Together, the teams combined for a 52-17 overall record (75.4 percent), 22-6 in Sun Belt Conference play (78.6 percent) and 30-4 in Diddle Arena (88.2 percent).

The 1986-87 squad, led by head coach Murray Arnold, finished 29-9, won the Sun Belt and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hilltoppers defeated West Virginia in the first round before falling to host Syracuse, and they were ranked as high as eighth in The Associated Press poll.

That WKU team featured three players who scored at least 15 points per game: Tellis Frank, Brett McNeal and Kannard Johnson. Frank was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-American, while Frank and Johnson were first-team all-conference. Arnold was the Sun Belt Coach of the Year.

The 1985-86 team, led by head coach Clem Haskins, finished 23-8 and also reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Hilltoppers – ranked as high as 19th in the AP poll – defeated Nebraska before falling to Kentucky.

That team was led in scoring by Billy Gordon, who was a second-team all-conference pick along with Johnson, and rebounding by Clarence Martin. Haskins was tabbed as Sun Belt Coach of the Year.

Three Hilltoppers were selected in the 1987 NBA Draft: Frank in the first round to the Golden State Warriors, Johnson in the second round to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Martin to the Utah Jazz. It was the only time in WKU history that three Hilltoppers have been selected in the first three rounds of the same NBA Draft.

Frank and Johnson were named to the Sun Belt Conference 30th Anniversary Team in 2006.

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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