Middle Tennessee (18-8, C-USA 12-3) began their weekend road trip at Western Kentucky (21-5, C-USA 12-3) Thursday night. The Blue Raiders had been winners of nine-straight, but the Hilltoppers derailed their streak in a double-digit victory, 62-51.
The Blue Raiders began the game a bit sluggish, struggling to convert from behind the arc, which limited their scoring attack. However, the Blue Raiders recovered in the second quarter and battled to regain the lead before the half.
During the second half, the Hilltoppers took advantage of nearly every Blue Raider turnover. The free throw numbers tilted heavily in the Hilltoppers favor, as WKU made their way to the line 28 times, converting 17 times for 61 percent.
Heading into the fourth quarter, WKU only held a four-point lead, but they were able build on the lead vigorously.The Hilltoppers vamped their defensive pressure and held the Blue Raiders to just five points in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, their offense continued to control and dictate the game. The Blue Raiders fouled in desperation but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Hilltoppers from claiming victory.
The Blue Raiders committed a total of 21 turnovers and it haunted them all game. The Hilltoppers were able to run the fast break and beat Middle Tennessee in the transition game.
The Blue Raiders committed 22 personal fouls, which forced Ty Petty and Alex Johnson to sit for extended periods of time.
However, Petty was able to tally 18 points, leading the team. Alex Johnson put up 10 points along with nine rebounds, and Brea Edwards notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Hilltopper guard Kendall Noble led the charge for WKU, recording 23 points and six assists. Forward Tashia Brown also boosted the Hilltoppers scoring efforts with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Blue Raiders will search for ways to get back on track when they take on Marshall at Cam Henderson Center. The Blue Raiders and the Thundering Herd will take the court at noon on Saturday.
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