WKU ‘tired’ of losing, ready to get back to winning ways Saturday against Furman

Cole Claybourn

WKU has had a week to think about its 84-76 loss to IUPUI.

It was a game in which Head Coach Ken McDonald took full responsibility for not preparing his team as they watched IUPUI’s Alex Young score 43 points.

Now after a long week of practice, the Toppers (4-7) will have a chance to get back in the win column when they play Furman at 7 p.m. Saturday night at Diddle Arena.

Freshman guard Derrick Gordon said the week off  which was more relaxed due to finals  was good for the team.

“It’s definitely tough. I hate losing,” he said. “That’s just one thing  I hate losing. I don’t care who we’re playing. That’s something I’m definitely not used to. 

“Really it was a good week to clear our heads because all of us was really upset after that game.”

Furman (4-4) defeated Jacksonville 85-79 on Sunday to end a three-game losing streak.

WKU will be without junior guard Caden Dickerson, who will miss the rest of the season after he undergoes shoulder surgery later this month.

The Toppers will also likely be without sophomore forward Stephon Drane, who is still battling the effects of a hyperextended knee. 

Three Furman players are averaging more than 10 points per game, led by sophomore guard Charlie Reddick and junior forward Bryant Irwin, who are both averaging 10.9 points per game.

Sophomore guard Richard Brown is averaging 10.2 points per game. 

While stopping all three Paladins, freshman guard T.J. Price said the Toppers’ biggest obstacle Saturday night will be not beating themselves.

“We look at all the losses we have, it’s been all about on us,” he said. “It wasn’t that the teams were better than us, it was about ourselves. We always beat ourselves every game.”

Price said that’s what the team focused on this week  staying mentally tough.

McDonald stressed the same sentiment.

“To be a honest, we took a step back in the last time out (against IUPUI),” he said. “We’re refocused on us and what we’re not doing right and getting back that energy that we need to win basketball games.

“The last couple days have been very physical practices and getting back to running up and down the court and getting in shape a little bit.”

That being said, WKU won’t be overlooking Furman.

“You hope the last time out that we learned from that mistake,” McDonald said. “I do think in a sense we overlooked IUPUI, but it was more about the energy and how hard we’ve been playing on defense because we’ve done that pretty much whoever we’ve played.

“We can’t take a step back in that direction.”