BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU defeated Kentucky State on Saturday night in Diddle Arena for the second consecutive season, 95-75. A total of 13 players scratched the scoring column for WKU as the team improves to 3-1 on the season with the win.
Fifth-year senior Brandon Newman led the way for the Tops, finishing with a 17 point, 10 rebound double-double. 46 of WKU’s 95 points on Saturday came from bench players. Freshman Teagan Moore finished tied for second in points with 13 on 5-of-9 shooting from the field.
Don McHenry posted another strong performance for the Hilltoppers, scoring 13 points to go with 7 rebounds and 6 assists while committing no turnovers. The transfer from Indian Hills CC has now charted double-digit point totals in each of the Tops’ last three outings.
“Don is continuing to evolve into a really good player for us,” head coach Steve Lutz said. “He’s done a really good job in terms of taking care of the basketball and those sorts of things. Now the next step for him is to not only know his position but know everyone else’s position and get them in the right places at the right times.”
The Hilltoppers took the opening tip and Rodney Howard recorded the first basket of the night with a turnaround jumper. Newman recorded a steal and took it the length of the court with an emphatic slam to give the Tops a 4-0 lead just one minute into the game.
Aided by a pair of threes, KSU took a 10-7 lead with 17:13 left in the half. WKU then rolled off 10 straight taking a 17-10 lead and holding the Thorobreds scoreless for over two minutes until a layup snapped the drought. On their fifth made three of the night, KSU took the lead back, 23-22.
Down 25-23 at the under 12 break, WKU used a 16-0 run to jump out to its largest lead of the night, up 39-25. McHenry led the way for the Tops in the stretch, cashing in for seven points. After a nearly four-minute scoreless drought, KSU connected on a layup, ending the 16-0 run.
After KSU cut the lead to 10, Brandon Newman connected on his second three of the night with 6:36 left in the period. The Thorobreds managed to cut into the Hilltopper lead and on their eighth made triple of the night, cut the deficit to six with 4:14 in the half.
Teagan Moore’s first points of the night came from beyond the arc pushing the lead back out to nine with 3:31 till the break. Getting tripped up on his way to the basket, McHenry connected on a pair of free throws at the charity stripe to bring the lead back out to double digits, 51-40.
Jack Edelen grabbed a defensive board and turned it into offense, going coast-to-coast and laying it in while drawing contact, converting the three-point play with just 16 seconds left in the period. Following a defensive stand, the Hilltoppers went into the locker room up 57-43.
McHenry and Newman shared the offensive load in the first half, each going for 11 points. McHenry played the role of floor general in the first dishing out a team best four assists. He also led the way on the boards, crashing six.
To open the second, McHenry found Tyrone Marshall Jr. high above the rim for a slam. After KSU knocked down a pair of free throws, McHenry dished one to a wide-open Newman on the right wing for his third made three of the night, leading by 19, up 64-45.
After forcing the Thorobreds into a shot clock violation, Marshall connected with Dontaie Allen for a triple, bringing the lead to 21 with 15:15 remaining. The Hilltoppers failed to convert for nearly three minutes, but a Jalen Jackson assisted three from Newman snapped the drought with WKU up 72-52 with 12:21 left.
WKU hit the 80-point mark with 9:51 remaining after Rodney Howard tipped one in off a missed free throw. Howard then crashed a board on the defensive end transitioning to an and-one from Jalen Jackson to give the Tops an 83-59 lead.
WKU maintained a 20-point advantage until the 5:49 mark when KSU cut the lead down to 19. Following the nearly two-minute scoreless drought, Babacar Faye electrified the crowd with a two-handed jam assisted by Edelen giving the Tops a 21-point lead, 90-69.
The Hilltoppers held the Thorobreds scoreless for the final 1:24 minutes of play and ultimately secured the victory, 95-75.
WKU returns to action next week and is slated to compete at the Northern Classic Nov. 24-26 in Quebec, Canada. The Hilltoppers will face three opponents in a span of three days, including matchups with Bowling Green, Canisius and UNC Asheville.