Depleted WKU blown out at VCU

Lucas Aulbach

When the Toppers took the court Tuesday against Virginia Commonwealth, they were without their top two scorers in sophomore guard T.J. Price and senior guard Jamal Crook.

They looked lost without their leaders – the outmanned Toppers fell 76-44 in Richmond. It was the worst loss for WKU since a 114-82 loss against Louisville on Dec. 22, 2010.

WKU was never in the game. VCU rushed out to a 12-point lead after just six minutes and the Toppers were never able to counter with a run of their own. The Rams led 42-16 at halftime.

Price and Crook are a big part of the WKU offense – Price averages a team-leading 16.9 points per game and 6.1 rebounds while Crook averages 14.5 points while leading the Toppers with 4.5 assists per game.

Without the two missing starters, the Toppers were forced to rely on the bench and use a hodgepodge of different lineups to try and stay with the Rams.

The confusion on the floor, coupled with VCU’s suffocating defense, made for a long night for WKU. The Rams had four players score in double figures – the Toppers had no player score more than eight – and forced WKU to commit 32 turnovers while giving up just 11 of their own.

Sophomore forward George Fant was one of two Toppers with eight points (along with sophomore guard Kevin Kaspar) and pulled in a team-leading eight rebounds but seemed to be hampered at times by his ankle.

Sophomore guard Brandon Harris, fresh off of a career-high 23-point performance Sunday at Murray State, had seven points, five rebounds and four assists but gave up nine turnovers to the Rams.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Toppers coming up. They will be off for the rest of the week before taking on No. 4 Louisville Saturday in Nashville.