BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (12/19/06) Keith Wooden’s lay-up kissed off the glass and in with just over five second remaining to down Western Kentucky 86-85 at E.A. Diddle Arena on Tuesday.
The win is North Texas’ (8-3, 1-1) first ever over the Hilltoppers (8-4, 0-1) in eight tries and snaps a streak of eight straight conference opening wins for WKU.
“I think our guys played an outstanding game tonight,” said head coach Johnny Jones. “When you play tough teams like this on the road you hope to come out well, and I think our guys came out with a tremendous effort. All of our guys came together for this win”
Wooden came up clutch in the lane after Jones and assistant coach Charlie Leonard decided to unveil a new inbounds play with 9.5 seconds remaining on the clock. Forward Quincy Williams made the inbounds pass, and then found a wide open Wooden in the lane for the go-ahead bucket.
North Texas, ranked 24th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, was on fire from beyond the arc, scorching Western Kentucky for nine 3-pointers. Calvin Watson, who has now hit a three in 19 straight games, quieted the E.A. Diddle crowd with five three’s, including a pair from nearly 30 feet out in the first half.
Michael Sturns earned his first start of the season and excelled, putting up a game-high 24 points, 14 in the first half alone. Tonight marks the junior’s eighth straight double-digit game and his second consecutive with at least 20.
North Texas played a tenacious zone defense that forced 11 first-half Hilltopper turnovers which led to 15 Mean Green points. The difference in the game, NT held a seven-point margin in points off turnovers.
For the first time this year the Mean Green bench was outscored. With Sturns in the starting lineup, WKU topped the Mean Green 15-8 in bench points.
North Texas returns home after the five-game road swing on Friday to take on Jarvis Christian.