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WKU Men’s Basketball defeats Kentucky State

Emilee Arnold
Senior forward Tyrone Marshall Jr. dunks the ball during the game against Kentucky State on November 18, 2023.

WKU Men’s Basketball defeated the Kentucky State Thorobreds 95-75 on Nov.18 in E.A. Diddle Arena. This was the Hilltoppers’ second straight win on the season and their second straight win over a Kentucky team. They are now 3-1 on the season. 

Guard Brandon Newman scored 17 points and added 10 rebounds, guard Don McHenry scored 13 points with 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

“Tonight was one of those nights where we showed a little bit of our inexperience,” Head Coach Steve Lutz said. “We showed a little bit of our immaturity, and we weren’t ready to win.  The first half was not indicative of the type of basketball team we need to be in order to go to the NCAA tournament.” 


The Hilltoppers shot 52% from two and 40% from three in the first half.  They shot 34% from 2 and 18% from 3 in the second half. 

“We shot 31 threes in the game,” guard Teagan Moore said.  “If they’re not falling consistently, that’s too many.” 

The WKU defense tightened up in the second half, limiting Kentucky State to 32% from the field and 31% from three. They limited the Thorobreds to 32 second-half points, capitalizing off 6 Kentucky State turnovers. 

“I tell my team the same message I also give them, to do your best and play the game the right way,” Lutz said. “At the end of the day, we have to worry about ourselves.  That’s the most important thing that we do the best we can every night.” 

 WKU will face the Bowling Green State University Falcons on Nov. 24 in Laval, Quebec at 6p.m. CST.

First Half

Western Kentucky won the opening tipoff. Newman threw down a dunk early in the game before Kentucky State answered with a couple of three-pointers of their own.

WKU went on a 10-0 run to stretch the lead to 17-10. Next, the Thorobreds made three consecutive three pointers to keep up with the Hilltoppers. However, the Hilltoppers defense began to clamp down midway through the first half.  

Newman, guard Kalambay Enoch, and center Babacar Faye each had a block. WKU led 42-31 with six minutes to go, but Kentucky State traded in Hilltopper free throws for three-pointers and cut the lead to six making the score 46-40. 

Fueled by Kentucky State going 0-8 for field goals in the last four minutes, the Hilltoppers went on an 11-3 run to close out the half 57-43.   

Both teams shot 40% even from three, but WKU outshot Kentucky State 52.8% to 40.0% on two-point field goals. WKU also shot more free throws (19-4), but shot worse than Kentucky State percentage-wise. 

Newman and McHenry led all WKU scorers with 11 points. Kalambay had 9 points, shooting 100% with a +/- of 20.  McHenry had 4 assists and a block. 


Second Half

The Hilltoppers came out of the locker room with some dynamite. Don Mchenry threw an alley-oop to forward Tyrone Marshall Jr for the slam. This ignited a 9-2 run for the Hilltoppers, stretching their lead to 21.   

Despite a comfortable lead, WKU went 1-11 from field goals before Newman ended the drought with a three. Shortly past the 10-minute mark, the Hilltoppers led 83-59.

Despite an almost four-mintue scoring drought, the Hilltoppers still led big. 

With under four minutes to play, Edelen threw a lob to Babacar on a Kentucky State player.

Overall, WKU tied with Kentucky State in second-half points, 38-38, but ultimately WKU prevailed. 


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