Books for ballin’

For a book, fans can get free admission to the final preseason game for Western men’s basketball.

Western, along with the Southern Kentucky Festival of Books, is sponsoring “Books and Baskets” at the Toppers’ game against the Universal All-Stars at 7 p.m. Saturday in Diddle Arena.

By donating a new or “gently used” children’s book, fans can receive one free general admission ticket to the game. The books will be distributed during National Children’s Book Week.

The game Saturday will be Western’s last warm-up before opening the season at No. 1 Arizona Nov. 23.

Toppers ink two early

Western won’t hurt for size next season. Despite the eventual departure of 7-foot, 300-pound All-American Chris Marcus, the Toppers found another big man to help fill those huge shoes next season. In addition to 6-foot-11, 350-pound transfer Nigel Dixon, Western will have the services of 7-foot, 300-pound Josh Higgins.

A prep star who averaged 13.9 points and 7.9 rebounds as a senior at Vandalia-Butler High in Dayton, Ohio, Higgins signed a national letter of intent to attend Western yesterday.

He was joined by 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard Nick Hill, who averaged 26.7 points, six rebounds and 2.4 assists as a senior at DuQuoin High in DuQuoin, Ill.

Hill finished eighth in last year’s Mr. Basketball vote for Illinois’ top prep player.

– Kyle Tucker