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November 5, 2011Sign-up for InsideHilltopperSports.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
Ten of the 11 Hilltoppers who saw action scored in WKU's 73-61 exhibition win over Xavier (La.), led by four players in double-figures and Nigel Snipes' 11-point, 11-rebound performance. WKU has defeated the Gold Rush in exhibition contests three years in a row, and the Hilltoppers are now 47-4 all-time in preseason tune-ups including 16-straight wins.
Freshman Snipes had 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting and 11 rebounds, four on the offensive end, and fellow rookie Derrick Gordon led all scorers with 17 points. Gordon was 5-of-10 from the field and hit seven of his nine free throw attempts. A third freshman, T.J. Price, was also in double-figures for the Hilltoppers with 12 points. Kahlil McDonald hit three three-pointers en route to 11 points.
Wanto Joseph led the Gold Rush, who are ranked 21st nationally in NAIA, with 11 points in the game. WKU forced 27 Xavier (La.) turnovers and scored 28 points off of them, and the Hilltoppers turned it over 13 times themselves. WKU shot 41.1 percent from the field in the game and held the Gold Rush to 40.0 percent shooting.
After back-to-back baskets by Kene Anyigbo and Jamal Crook for the Hilltoppers, Xavier (La.) went on an 8-0 run before WKU countered with a 5-0 sprint of its own to take a 13-8 lead with 13:03 left in the first half. After Renard Smith hit a three-pointer for the Gold Rush to give them a 16-15 lead, WKU scored 15 of the next 17 points to open up a 12-point advantage with six minutes left until halftime.
Gordon had six points in that stretch, and Price had five. In the game, 50 of WKU's 73 points were scored by freshmen.
WKU took a 41-25 lead into halftime and opened the lead up to as many as 18 points at the start of the second half. The Gold Rush got within seven points after the under-four minute media timeout, but layups by Price and Snipes and a pair of free throws by Gordon got WKU back to a comfortable advantage and ultimately to its 12-point margin of victory.
The Hilltoppers now turn their attention to their 93rd season of basketball, which begins Friday against Saint Joseph's. Tip-off is set for 7:00 at E.A. Diddle Arena. The game will be televised by the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network, airing locally on WKYU-PBS and nationally on Fox College Sports and DirecTV channel 623.