WKU earns first road win 69-60 over Southern Illinois behind Harris’s career night

Junior guard Brandon Harris screams in frustration after a foul was called on, senior guard Jamal Crook, which prevented a fast break opprutunity during their victory of Florida International in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship.

Tyler Lashbrook

Senior guard Brandon Harris scored a career-high 30 points and the Toppers (5-3) earned their first road win of the season with a 69-60 victory at Southern Illinois.

Harris joined Topper royalty with eight shots from behind the arc. Only Anthony Winchester, Darnell Mee and Roland Shelton have ever hit that many threes in one game in WKU history.

Coach Ray Harper told WKU Radio that Harris was “in the zone.”

 “Coach (Harper) just kept telling me to shoot it,” Harris told WKU Radio. “When your coach tells you that, I’m going to just let it fly.”

 Junior forward George Fant contributed 19 points and five rebounds of his own and junior forward Aaron Adeoye scored 11 points and collected eight rebounds.

WKU extended its lead by seven with nearly eight minutes remaining until a 7-0 SIU run tied things up. Fant scored and completed an and-1 to regain the lead.

With the clock winding down, Fant hit a fade away jumper to give the Toppers a three-point lead, but the Salukis came down quickly and hit a three-pointer as time expired to tie things up at 34 heading into halftime.

Fant led all scorers through the first 20 minutes with 13 points. Senior guard Brandon Harris chipped in 11 of his own and junior forward Aaron Adeoye contributed five off the bench.

Senior guard Desmar Jackson, SIU’s leading scorer on the season, and sophomore guard Anthony Beane each scored 10 points in the first half.

SIU maintained a small lead until Harris hit another behind-the-arc shot from the corner, his fifth of the night, to give WKU the lead 45-44 with just over 11 minutes left. A few moments later, after SIU tied the game up, and Harris, again, nailed another triple.

On WKU’s next possession, Harris pump faked, took one dribble to his right and knocked down another shot from three-point range, his seventh of the night. Minutes later, Harris pass faked to the right and hit his last three-point shot of the night.

That three gave the Toppers a six-point lead and they never looked back as they won their fifth game of the year and first away from Diddle Arena.

WKU will face its toughest test of the season next Saturday when it travels to No. 7 Louisville to take on the defending national champions at the KFC Yum! Center Dec. 14 at 11:00.