Tops use late run to seal 62-52 victory over Bowling Green State

Sophomore forward Ben Lawson slams the ball home during the final minute of WKU’s game against Bowling Green State on Dec. 3. Lawson scored 12 points and was a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line as the Hilltoppers defeated the Falcons 62-52. Brandon Carter/HERALD

Billy Rutledge

WKU used eight-straight points in the final 1:28 to secure a 62-52 victory over Bowling Green State on Wednesday, handing the Falcons their first loss of the young season. 

The win was possible thanks in part to a career-high 12 points from sophomore center Ben Lawson to go along with seven rebounds for WKU (3-3). The seven-foot one-inch Hilltopper shot 4-for-4 from both the field and free throw line in his third start of the season.

“Ben’s only been playing for three years, but sometimes when you watch him you think, wow, he’s going to have a bright future,” Head Coach Ray Harper said. “Ben did a great job not getting angled in the post and making him (Holmes) score over him…We didn’t let him get comfortable.”

Richaun Holmes came into the game against the Hilltoppers averaging 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds for the Falcons (4-1). He finished the game with three points, five turnovers and four fouls after being matched up against Lawson and senior forward George Fant for most of the game.

Fant led the team with 14 points while tying career-highs in assists and blocks with three and four, respectively. Fant also brought down six rebounds in the Hilltoppers’ best defensive effort of the season, holding the Falcons to a season-low in points.

“I just got back into my groove,” Fant said. “I got my confidence back, and I was good.”

The two forwards not only led the team, but they also finished the game for the Hilltoppers. In the last two minutes of the game, the duo scored eight points, three rebounds and notched a steal to keep WKU on top.

“Finally,” Lawson said. “We have always had 10-point leads at the half and slowly given them away but this time we said no. It was a great finish.”

Senior guard T.J. Price was the only other Hilltopper to score double-digit points with 13 including team-highs of eight rebounds and five assists.

WKU was a combined 3-of-17 from three point range but finished the game with a shooting percentage of 44 percent. In WKU’s last game at Saint Joseph’s, they were 3-of-22 beyond the arc.

“If you are going to win games going forward, you have to do two things: you’ve got to defend and you have to rebound,” Harper said. “If you do those two things you can have nights like tonight where you don’t shoot the ball well and you can still win.”

WKU’s next game will be Saturday, Dec. 6 at Murray State.