Senior night at Western Kentucky University sent the seniors home with some great memories of their final home game at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers handled the University of South Alabama easily with 99-69 blowout.
AJ Slaughter turned in a career-best performance with 31 points. Jeremy Evans, scored his 1,000th career point early in the game. Evans also becomes just the second player in WKU Basketball history to amass 1,000 points, 750 rebounds, and 200 blocked shots.
The other seniors on the squad, Anthony Sally and Nemanja Milosevic also contributed to the strong team effort to shove the Jaguars out the door unceremoniously.
“I think we’ve been having more fun recently, and obviously winning is a big part of that. We’ve been playing harder. We’ve been more focused. The guys have been doing a great job with preparation and putting the time in to fix some of the problems we were having a couple of weeks ago. There was a point in the year that there was a lot of gloom and doom, and the guys have been doing a great job of just thinking of the task at hand. Going into tonight’s game, I think the guys were really excited about the matchup and sending out the seniors in style. You saw a good effort tonight. A very good, 40-minute effort.” said Coach Ken McDonald.
WKU is on a tear of a five game win streak, the second longest of the 57 game series. The win puts the Toppers one game behind five teams tied for the league’s top spot at 10-5.
The only disappointment to the 6500+ fans in attendance was the failure to reach the century point mark. Western Kentucky had three good tries with two minutes to play, but they may have been trying too hard for the monster play and two dunks and a long three went awry.
WKU hit 14 for 32 three point attempts, the second highest in school history. Led by 53 percent shooting from the field and 17 for 20 at the charity stripe, out rebounding South Alabama 43-24 and a 42-5 scoring rout by the bench, and everything was clicking for the Hilltoppers.
About the seniors, Coach McDonald said, “It’s tough emotionally, because you’re so focused on the team and what’s going on, but then when they come off the floor you come to the realization that you’re not going to see them out there anymore. The biggest thing is the sense of pride and excitement that you’ve helped the guys a little bit from a development standpoint and a maturity standpoint. I think AJ said it best when I hugged all the guys when they came out to get their jerseys with their families and friends. I told them that I loved them, and AJ said ‘I love you, Coach, and we’re not done. We’re not even close to being done yet.’ I love that attitude, and I’m going to miss that attitude. I’m happy to be a very small part of what they had on the Hill.”
Game Summary and Notes (pdf)