I wish I hadn’t done it. I’ve tried to
Hilltopper nation, I apologize, for this sole tweet may very well have cost the Toppers the game.
I kid of course (well, partly). But in all honesty, today had that feeling of “nothing is going to go right.” And, as much as I hate being wrong, I really wish I had been.
But I wasn’t. And tonight’s game was a little too similar to the Georgia State game. Not exactly, but too close for comfort.
The Hilltoppers kept things close, were only down 25-20 at the half, and seemed more than capable of keeping things within reach until they burst with an offensive rush to catch State off guard and steal the lead, and eventually, the game.
Unfortunately, no such burst ever came. And, unlike previous games in which WKU has gotten down big (and, in many cases, came back to win), there wasn’t a single stretch of ball which clearly set Arkansas State apart from the Tops. Instead, it was a series of unproductive offensive possessions – be it a turnover or missed shot and defensive rebound from the Red Wolves - and the Red Wolves capitalizing on the other end of the floor.
However, while it might be difficult to pinpoint where things went wrong for the Tops, it starts with the absence of their two big guns: George Fant, who only attempted two shots, was held scoreless for the first time in his Hilltopper career, and T.J. Price went scoreless until 4:23 to play, when he made his only bucket. The Tops did get double-figures from their second-tier dynamic duo, as Chris Harrison-Docks lead WKU with a quiet 14 points, and Trency Jackson had a quiet 11.
Seemingly the only Hilltopper who wasn’t quiet (aside from Randy Lee and fans wondering where George and T.J. went) was Aaron Adeoye, who grabbed 7 rebounds and scored 10 points on the night, and proved to be tonight’s Mr. Everything for WKU.
In the winner’s circle, Melvin Johnson lead all scorers with 22 points, and Cameron Golden was the only other Red Wolf to score in double-digits, posting 11. The Tops kept State’s leading scorer, Kirk Van Slyke, in check with only 2 points, but 4 fouls also played a big factor in that. The Red Wolves were also very thrifty, gaining 72 points from only eight players (including KVS’ 2 points), while the Hilltoppers needed 10 to hit 58 (granted, that is with 2 points from George and T.J. combined).
When all was said and done, the Red Wolves were tenacious on defense, and the Hilltoppers had no answer, and ended both the Tops’ six-game road conference winning streak and six-game overall winning streak.
The Hilltoppers will now come home to Diddle for a three game home stand, and have the perfect opportunity to get back on track as South Al and Troy come this week.
It’s hard, but the sky isn’t coming down. The Tops are still in second place, and the two worst teams in the league are coming to Diddle. And the Tops have until Thursday to figure things out.
Stand up and cheers.