Toppers grind out 57-50 win over ETSU

T.J Price scored 18 points, and George Fant added 17 points with 8 rebounds, as Western Kentucky defeated East Tennessee State 57-50 Saturday night.

T.J Price scored 18 points, and George Fant added 17 points with 8 rebounds, as Western Kentucky defeated East Tennessee State 57-50 Saturday night.

It was a poor shooting night for both squads, with the Toppers finishing 18-for-50 (36 percent) from the field and 17-for-32 (53 percent) from the free throw line.

WKU converted only four 3-point field goals on 20 attempts, making them 11-for-50 (22 percent) on the season through two games.

"I think we're still playing a freshman walk-on, a freshman at the point," said WKU head coach Ray Harper after the game. "Ben Lawson played a ton of minutes tonight, he's a freshman.

"Aaron (Adeoye) played a ton of minutes tonight, that's four new guys. Nigel's (Snipes) been out a year, that's five.

"Other than Caden and George and T.J., you can throw Alex in there, but he didn't play very much tonight. Looks like he got eight minutes and he scored the same as you and got one more rebound. You were just about as productive as he was tonight."

Despite the poor shooting, there were some bright spots for the Toppers throughout the night.

Freshman Payton Hulsey led WKU with 3 assists, and was the team's second-leading rebounder with 6.

But he also finished with four turnovers--all in the second half.

"I thought he (Hulsey) was OK," Harper said. "I thought his turnovers late, he got a little lazy with the basketball, a little complacent.

"We need him to keep attacking, not be afraid to take the open shots."

Another bright spot was the Toppers showed they could get buckets when needed, even if inconsistent so far in 2013.

WKU shot 8-for-32 (25 percent) in the first half, before converting 10-for-18 (55 percent) in the second.

But the free throw shooting trend was reversed, with the Toppers shooting 8-for-11 (72 percent) in the first half, before going 9-for-21 (43 percent) in the second.

"Well, again, we had great looks," Harper said. "There were times where we I don't know if we could get more wide open.

"Those are momentum swingers, when you knock down a couple wide-open 3s and all of a sudden you're on a 6-0 run.

"We had ‘em on the ropes. We had ‘em down 17 – then a couple missed one-and-one's, a turnover and all of a sudden relaxed defensively and they're right back in it."

The Toppers have a few days of practice ahead before hosting UNC-Wilmington on November 21.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.

Stay tuned with WKUInsider.com for the latest in WKU recruiting and team news.


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