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WKU defeats EKU in 161st ‘Battle of the Bluegrass’

Alexander Gates
Forward Babacar Faye (5) drives in the paint for two points during the game against Kentucky State on Nov. 18, 2023 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

WKU Men’s Basketball took down the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at home Sunday, 79-69, in the 161st edition of the Battle of the Bluegrass.

After beating the Colonels in their last four matchups, the Hilltoppers claimed yet another victory to move to 117-44 all-time in the MBB ‘Battle of the Bluegrass’.

With a 10-point win, the Hilltoppers claimed their first double-digit victory against EKU since their 83-51 performance in 2017.


First half

Don McHenry led the Hilltopper offense for the first 20 minutes of the game. The 6’2” Guard from Milwaukee, Wisconsin had 16 points on 6-10 shooting, including three three-pointers on his four attempts. 

Not to be outdone, EKU’s Leland Walker also had a near 20-point first half. The Indianapolis native had 18 points to accompany his three rebounds and one assist. Walker, who shot 50% on his 10 attempts, achieved 6 of his points from the charity stripe. 

Team first half statistics: 

WKU: 13-35 FG, 7-15 3FG, 3-4 FT | 20 Rebounds : 14 Defensive, 6 Offensive.

EKU: 14-32 FG, 4-11 3FG, 11-18 FT | 24 Rebounds : 17 Defensive, 7 Offensive.

Second half

Brandon Newman was on fire for the Hilltoppers in the second half. His 12 points led the Hilltoppers in both points and rebounds during the second Half of the game. 

EKU’s second half charge was led by Devontae Blanton. Blanton came into the game averaging an impressive 15.3 points per game, as well as six rebounds per game, and only added to his resume, rounding his night out with 22 and seven on 10-18 shooting. 

Team end of game statistics:

WKU: 28-69 FG, 11-25 3FG, 12-16 FT | 41 Rebounds : 28 Defensive, 13 Offensive.

EKU: 26-62 FG, 6-24 3FG, 11-19 FT | 42 Rebounds : 30 Defensive, 12 Offensive.

With the win over the Colonels, the Hilltoppers move to 6-3, joining Liberty and LA Tech as the only six win teams in Conference USA.

“Well, I mean, our team is no different than any other team,” Head Coach Steve Lutz said, “I mean, when you score, you feel better about yourself, and I try to always talk to them about, you know, thinking of basketball from the other side of the floor.”

The Hilltoppers will hit the road next weekend to face the 1-7 Buffalo Bulls, a team that currently sits at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference standings. You can catch this game on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. CT. on ESPN+.


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