BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball officially tips off the 2016-17 season at 7 p.m. CT Saturday with the regular season opener against Alabama State at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Hilltoppers, entering their first year under new coach Rick Stansbury, notched victories over Campbellsville and Kentucky Wesleyan in preseason exhibitions. The HIlltoppers most recently outlasted KWC 103-97 in double overtime, using Pancake Thomas’ 3-pointer at the buzzer to stay alive in the first OT.
Alabama State beat Auburn-Montgomery and Huntingdon College in its preseason tune-ups. The Hornets finished 14-17 last season, including a 5-12 mark on the road. WKU is 2-0 all-time against Alabama State, with the last victory coming in 1987 in Bowling Green. Stansbury is 3-0 all-time against the Hornets.
Saturday’s contest is considered a campus-site game in the 2016 Global Sports Classic, which takes both teams to Las Vegas for games later in the month.
WKU (0-0) vs. Alabama State (0-0)
November 12, 2016 | 7:00 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: WKUSports.tv ($)
Live Stats: Gametracker
• WKU has won 11 of its last 12 home openers and is 79-18 all-time in the season’s first home game.
• The Hilltoppers have won two straight season openers after dropping the previous three.
• WKU is 49-15 (.766) at E.A. Diddle Arena over the last four seasons after going 27-17 (.614) in the three seasons prior. The Hilltoppers are 573-162 all-time at Diddle Arena for a .780 winning percentage.
• The Hilltoppers started guards Junior Lomomba, Pancake Thomas and Que Johnson alongside forwards Willie Carmichael and Ben Lawson in both exhibition wins.
• Graduate senior Junior Lomomba’s 29 points in the win over Kentucky Wesleyan were the most by a Hilltopper in an exhibition since Juan Pattillo scored 31 against Campbellsville on Nov. 5, 2010.
• Redshirt sophomore Willie Carmichael’s 13 rebounds in the win over Campbellsville were the most by a Hilltopper in an exhibition since Jeremy Evans also grabbed 13 boards against Bellarmine on Nov. 8, 2008.
• With nine newcomers on the roster, WKU returns 31 percent of its scoring, 39 percent of its rebounding and 14 percent of its assists from the 2015-16 campaign.
• Junior Justin Johnson needs 344 points this season to become the 49th player in Hilltopper Basketball history to score 1,000 career points.
• Graduate senior Que Johnson needs 165 points to reach 1,000 for his career across his time at Washington State and WKU. Graduate senior Pancake Thomas needs 263 points to reach 1,000 for his career across his time at New Mexico, Hartford and WKU.
• Senior Ben Lawson ranks fifth in WKU history with 128 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.
• Head coach Rick Stansbury needs seven more wins to reach 300 victories for his career.
• WKU was picked to finish third in the Conference USA Preseason Coaches Poll, while Justin Johnson was voted to the 10-member Preseason All-C-USA Team.
• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 906 consecutive games, dating back to March 15, 1987. The 3-point shot was instituted prior to the 1986-87 season.
Football Ticket Deal: Show your ticket stub from the WKU vs. North Texas Football game and receive $5 reserved bleacher seats.
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!
Schedule Magnet Giveaway: First 2,500 fans receive a 2016-2017 WKU men’s basketball schedule magnet!
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.