BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball sits atop the Conference USA standings as it prepares to host Old Dominion at 5 p.m. CT Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Hilltoppers (9-7, 3-0 C-USA) are tied with Marshall for the league lead after besting Charlotte 82-80 at home Thursday. WKU has won five straight games for the first time since the beginning of C-USA play in the 2014-15 campaign.
“I want to thank those people who showed up tonight. I thought the crowd was good considering,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said after WKU’s win over Charlotte on a snowy night outside. “We need all those people that stayed home tonight, who didn’t fight through that snow, who stayed home and listened to it on the radio, watched it on TV – we need you in here Saturday afternoon now.
“Don’t ever underestimate how valuable being in those seats is and what it means to our team and giving us energy.”
Old Dominion (9-6, 2-1) is coming off a 90-86 overtime loss at Marshall on Thursday. WKU is 16-16 all-time against the Monarchs, including a 14-4 record at Diddle Arena. ODU ended WKU’s season in 2015-16 in the C-USA Tournament semifinals.
Stansbury is 1-0 all-time against Old Dominion.
Old Dominion (9-6, 2-1 C-USA) at WKU (9-7, 3-0 C-USA)
January 7, 2017 | 5 p.m. (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. | E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
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); Online Stream
Live Stats: Gametracker
• WKU is 55-15 (.786) at E.A. Diddle Arena over the last four-plus seasons after going 27-17 (.614) in the three seasons prior. The Hilltoppers are 579-162 all-time at Diddle Arena for a .781 winning percentage.
• The Hilltoppers have won nine straight games at Diddle Arena and finished nonconference play 5-0 at home, capping it with their 14th straight nonconference home win dating back to Dec. 20, 2014.
• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 922 consecutive games, dating back to March 15, 1987. The 3-point shot was instituted prior to the 1986-87 season.
• During its five-game winning streak, WKU is averaging 76.8 points per game, shooting 48.4 percent from the field and outrebounding opponents by more than four boards per contest. In their first 11 games, the Hilltoppers averaged 66.6 points, shot 42 percent and were outrebounded by 1.3 boards per game.
• In WKU’s three conference wins, forwards Anton Waters and Jabari McGhee are a combined 25 of 38 from the field (65.8 percent). Waters is shooting 80 percent (12 of 15) from the floor over the last two games.
• WKU’s 97 points against Austin Peay were its most against a Division I opponent since a 98-70 victory over Saint Joseph’s on Nov. 12, 2010.
• Junior Justin Johnson has made 12 of 26 shots (.462) from 3-point range this year after netting just one 3-pointer over his first two seasons.
• Graduate senior Pancake Thomas has recorded 26 total assists with just seven turnovers over his last six games. He had 17 assists and 14 turnovers across his first 10 games as a Hilltoppers.
• 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 five games, Parris has made 11 of 22 shots and gone 6 of 9 from deep.
• WKU has made more free throws (246) than its opponents have attempted (227). The Hilltoppers’ 31 makes vs. North Carolina A&T were their most since netting 33 vs. Ball State on Feb. 22, 2003.
• Graduate transfer seniors Que Johnson, Pancake Thomas and Junior Lomomba have all reached the 100th career game milestone this season.
• Justin Johnson needs 140 points this season to become the 49th player in Hilltopper Basketball history to score 1,000 career points.
• Pancake Thomas needs 65 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 157 career blocked shots. 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. He’s tied for fourth in C-USA in blocks per game (1.8).
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.
Big Red’s Rascals Night: All members of Big Red’s Rascals will receive a complimentary reserved ticket for them and a friend to the game and all other friends and family may purchase additional tickets for just $5 a piece.
Fuqua Events Kids Zone: Inflatable fun zone for kids – opens one hour prior to tipoff on the third level concourse of Diddle Arena for FREE!
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.