HILLTOPPERS FALL 82-64 AT NO. 24/23 MIDDLE TENNESSEE
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A rough end to the first half and Middle Tennessee's hot shooting worked against WKU Hilltopper Basketball in an 82-64 road loss Thursday night.
The No. 24/23 Blue Raiders (24-5, 16-1 Conference USA) shot 55 percent from the field and made 9 of 20 3-pointers, claiming their second straight C-USA regular-season championship at the Murphy Center.
WKU (22-8, 14-3) was looking to defeat multiple ranked opponents in a season for the first time since 1993, but instead had its six-game winning streak snapped.
The Hilltoppers conclude the regular season at UAB at 7 p.m. CT Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.
Redshirt junior guard Lamonte Bearden tied a career high with 24 points to lead the Hilltoppers, who also got 14 points and seven rebounds from senior forward Justin Johnson.
Freshman guard Taveion Hollingsworth scored eight points and tied a career high with seven rebounds.
Middle Tennessee made 7 of 11 3-pointers in the first half, including three from guard Giddy Potts in the final 8:44. The team shot 60 percent from the field before the break.
The Blue Raiders scored the first seven points of the game, but WKU eventually rallied to lead 24-22 on a basket by Bearden at the 9:02 mark.
MTSU went on an 8-0 run from there, including two Potts 3s, and Antwain Johnson banked in a 3 at the buzzer to give the Blue Raiders a 43-34 halftime advantage.
Middle Tennessee scored the first five points of the second half, and WKU never got any closer than nine the rest of the way.