College Basketball

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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 2013-14.

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 losing effort.

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 visitors tonight.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 75, Western Kentucky 70

01/18 10:23:25 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
Final
BOS 6
BAL 5
11:05am Today
BOS
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
Final
HOU 120
POR 122
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
Final
SJS 7
LOS 2
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR