Arkansas State (10-6) at Western Kentucky (10-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326) -- Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Television: WKU PBS, WBNA, ESPN3.com. Home Record: ASU 5-2, WKU 7-3. Away
Record: ASU 5-4, WKU 3-4. Neutral Record: ASU 0-0, WKU 0-0. Conference
Record: ASU 3-2, WKU 2-2. Series Record: Western Kentucky leads, 30-14.
GAME NOTES: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers try to avoid their first three-
game slide of the season, as they host the Arkansas State Red Wolves in Sun
Belt Conference play at E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday night.
Not only have the Hilltoppers avoided dropping three straight decisions, it is
only now that the program has bowed in back-to-back outings. Nine days ago,
WKU was defeated by Georgia State (77-54) at home, and then two nights ago it
was Arkansas-Little Rock that turned the trick in overtime (87-83). Despite
the setbacks, the Hilltoppers are still a solid 7-3 in their own building in
While WKU was playing a close matchup on Thursday night, it was the same story
for the Red Wolves who suffered a hard-fought 73-72 loss at Georgia State. The
setback was the second in the last three contests for ASU, but still the team
is ahead of WKU in the SBC standings with a record of 3-2.
The Hilltoppers own a 30-14 edge in the all-time series with Arkansas State,
and they are a stellar 18-2 at home in the relationship.
Perhaps the most important stat in the game between Arkansas State and Georgia
State a few nights back was in the turnover department where the host suffered
only six miscues. ASU shot a decent 42.9 percent from the field and knocked
down 11 3-pointers, but the Red Wolves also coughed up the ball 12 times. Kirk
Van Slyke registered a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while
Kendrick Washington came up a rebound shy of his own double-double as he
dropped in 12 points, followed by Cameron Golden with 10 and six assists.
One of only two players to have started every game, Van Slyke is the leader in
scoring for the Red Wolves with 17.6 ppg, hitting on 57.7 percent from the
field overall and 43.1 percent beyond the arc. Van Slyke is also first on the
glass with 6.4 rpg and tops with 24 of their 46 blocked shots. Melvin Johnson
III and Brandon Reed account for 14.1 and 10.8 ppg, respectively, the former
now coming off the bench even as he makes good on 49.4 percent of his attempts
behind the 3-point line.
Hitting on 13-of-29 (.448) beyond the arc on Thursday, the Hilltoppers figured
to have themselves a shot at taking down UALR, but in the overtime period the
visitors made good on 5-of-7 shots from the floor in order to sneak by. Still,
Aleksej Rostov made a major impact with 20 points on 4-of-6 shooting behind
the 3-point line before fouling out. Chris Harrison-Docks accounted for 14
points, Brandon Harris 13 and Kevin Kaspar 11 points and six rebounds in the
The Hilltoppers might be in for a rough run now, with leading scorer T.J.
Price having been suspended for disciplinary reasons. Price was scoring 16.6
ppg and missed the Thursday night outing, allowing Rostov to move into the
starting lineup. Without their star the Hilltoppers now have just two active,
double-digit performers in George Fant (12.4 ppg) and Trency Johnson (10.4
ppg), the latter having appeared in just nine games while shooting a
disappointing 38.3 percent from the field.
Without a key figure on offense, Western Kentucky is quite possibly heading in
the wrong direction. Considering the Red Wolves are actually playing over .500
on the road, this is certainly a contest that could fall in favor of the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 75, Western Kentucky 70
01/18 10:23:25 ET
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