Following a 3-1 start to the season, Western Kentucky (3-5) has dropped three straight contests during a seven-game road trip that will make a stop in Terre Haute, Ind., to visit an improving Indiana State (5-4) squad.
The current stretch of the schedule, which has two more stops before returning home, has proved difficult for Rick Stansbury's rebuilt squad.
"We are trying to find the silver lining," Stansbury said. "But again, it is just what it is. It’s tough when eight of nine are on the road and you are trying to find your own team. And it’s not easy to find yourself on the road and I don’t care where you go at. We’re off again to Indiana State and Saint Mary’s, then Detroit next Saturday. We got to keep taking it one at a time, keep things in perspective."
Indiana State has bounced back from its own three-game losing streak, including a two-point loss to a ranked Iowa State team, to win three straight including a 72-71 victory against No. 15 Butler.
ISU junior guard Brenton Scott's three-point shooting has fueled the Sycamores improved play in 2016. Fourth in Indiana State program history for three-pointers made, Scott is averaging 19 points a game during the early stages of the season.
"They’re a good team and have one of the best guards in the country and a four who can really shoot it," Stansbury said. "They are a good team because they have a lot of toughness, so it will be a challenge for us."
Senior forward Matt Van Scyoc is also a challenge for opponents. The 6-foot-6 swing-player scored a career-high 23 points in the upset win over Butler, including connecting on 6 of 9 from beyond the three-point arc.
The Hilltoppers will receive additional help against the Sycamores, with Tennessee transfer Jabari McGhee gaining his eligibility.
"He’s got an energetic body, he brings some energy to that backline," Stansbury said. "It’s a plus having him, I’m glad to have him than not have him. There will be a huge learning curve, that game speed and all of that with him, but he brings energy and toughness which is a plus for us."
Sunday's contest will mark the seventh meeting between the two programs, with the Hilltoppers holding a 4-2 advantage.