WKU basketball drops road game to Xavier

WKU’s guard Fredrick Edmond (25) passes around Eastern Kentucky University’s forward Anthony Pratt Jr. (33) to forward Ben Lawson (14) during the Hilltopper’s 86-84 win Tuesday at Diddle Arena.

Matthew Stewart

Off the back of a last-second win over in-state rival EKU, the Hilltoppers traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on 12th ranked Xavier Saturday evening. WKU fell to the national powerhouse by a score of 95-64.

The Musketeers were coming off a 29 point victory over the Dayton Flyers in the Advocare Invitational and were primed to welcome the Hilltoppers into the Cintas Center Saturday night.

The Big East foe has six players that are averaging double figures in the stat column. 

WKU was looking to disrupt that rhythm Saturday night, with the opportunity to play their toughest opponent since the University of Louisville game in 2014.  

Junior guard Fredrick Edmond came away with a basket to pull the Toppers within reaching distance of Xavier with 7:52 left in the first half, to make it a 26-19 game. 

Five players for the Musketeers scored in double figures, led by Trevon Bluiett with 21 points and ten rebounds. 

The Musketeers opened up the second half looking good. Xavier went up 55-36 after scoring seven straight points to go up 19. The shots just kept falling for Xavier as they shot 57 percent from the field.

The Hilltopper defense allowed the Musketeers to shoot 7-16 from three to hold a 43.8 percent clip. 

The Tops would not get closer than 14 points after the 55-36 lead of Xavier.

Sophomore forward Justin Johnson led the way once again with 15 points and seven rebounds. Johnson was one of three Tops to score double figures. Senior guard Aaron Cosby and Junior guard Chris Harrison-Docks each scored 11. Harrison-Docks also had three assists and one steal.

Freshman guard Chris McNeal played more minutes than any other player for WKU Saturday with 29. McNeal had five assists to lead the team.

The Toppers lost the game to a team that, despite being ranked 12th in the Associated Press Coaches’ Poll, is the No. 3 ranked RPI team in the country.

The Hilltopper basketball team will be taking a break this week to allow time for final examinations and will get back on the court with their next game at home on Sunday, December 13th against Indiana State.