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December 6, 2009Sign-up for InsideHilltopperSports.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
No shot by the visitors were assured to at least hit the rim, not with senior forward Jeremy Evans lurking around the basket.
With 5:13 left in the game, senior forward Asim McQueen let go a right-handed runner in mid-air in the lane. Evans, perched on the left block soared over and swatted the shot away. Evans then put his hands at his side, stuck his chest out and let loose a defiant yell.
Evans finished one block short of a career-high as WKU snapped a two game skid with a 62-48 win over visiting Tulane.
"We knew they had a couple of big guys and they were gonna try to drive our guards, but like Coach talked about in practice, we've gotta have each other's back," Evans said. "If somebody gets driven, we've gotta be there to take the charge, help and stay aggressive."
Evans finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Seven of his rebounds came offensively. But Evans also had help in the post from junior forward Steffphon Pettigrew, who finished with a team-high 19 points to go with seven rebounds.
"Our intensity was there," Pettigrew said. "We had intensity the whole game. That helped us out throughout the whole 40 minutes of the game. We went in the second half, started out a little slow, but we started picking up after a while."
As a team, the Toppers outscored the Green Wave 38-24 in the post, while holding a 35-25 rebounding edge.
Coach Ken McDonald changed things up a little bit from the start. Freshman guards Jameson Tipping and Caden Dickerson started over senior guard Anthony Sally and junior forward Sergio Kerusch.
McDonald said he was happy with the way his team played, especially compared to the past few games.
"It's not perfect, but we started developing some habits the last week or so that are carrying into the game now," he said. "In a game like this where you can get a little bit of a lead and start to feel pretty good, you can get some of your new guys in and get them some experience. I was able to let guys play through a couple of mistakes. The bench did a good job for the most part. We turned the ball over some, but the aggression level was way higher, the energy was higher and I think we made them uncomfortable."
Four players scored in double figures for WKU. Senior guard A.J. Slaughter finished with 13 points, while Kerusch added ten. As a team, the Toppers shot 50 percent from the floor.
"It pretty much started with what Coach said," Pettigrew said. "If we get the ball side to side and try to work it inside, we worked it inside a lot and that opened up the outside game."
Evans and Pettigrew certainly controlled the inside, altering shots or Tulane's actions even when they didn't get on the stat sheet. But the two also exemplified how all the Toppers might be getting a little more into sync.
"Everybody's gonna wanna come out and win as bad as we do," Evans said. "Just to know that we share the ball and if we don't, we're not gonna make it anywhere. We've seen that just between the games we've already had. We just need to share the ball and keep playing hard."
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