Western Kentucky 65, Florida International 63

Monday, March 11, 2013 7:00 PM
Location - Summit Arena, Hot Springs, Arkansas
Officials - Byron Evans, Brant Hampton, Rick Hartzell
Attendance - N/A

Final Scoring Summary

Final 1 2 T
Western Kentucky 31 34 65
Florida International 29 34 63

Recap


Western Kentucky 65, Florida International 63:
George Fant had 17 points and 13 rebounds and the Hilltoppers made it four wins in four days for the second straight season en route to beating the Golden Panthers in Hot Springs, Ark., to claim the Sun Belt’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Jamal Crook also scored 17 points and Brandon Harris added 12 on four 3-pointers for sixth-seeded Western Kentucky (20-15), which repeated its dramatic conference tournament run of a year ago to crack the NCAA field for the fourth time in six seasons.

Cameron Bell scored 15 points, Malik Smith added 14 and Jerome Frink had 13 for fourth-seeded Florida International (18-14), which is coached by Richard Pitino, son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

The Golden Panthers made a frantic late-game push after trailing by eight with 1:27 to play. Four straight free throws by Bell and a basket by Frink pulled Florida International within two with 26.5 seconds left. Crook made three of four free throws down the stretch to give Western Kentucky a five-point edge with 5.7 seconds left.

The Hilltoppers led by two at halftime and increased their lead to 44-36 on a 3-pointer by Harris with 13:10 to play. Florida International trailed by three with less than three minutes remaining before a 5-0 run capped by Crook’s jumper gave Western Kentucky a 62-54 lead.

GAME NOTEBOOK:
The 20-win season is the 41st in Western Kentucky history, which ranks sixth in NCAA annals. … The elder Pitino was in attendance to see if his 30-year-old son could lead Florida International to its second NCAA Tournament appearance. … Both teams put together 11-0 runs in the first half as the Hilltoppers took a 31-29 lead into the break.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

  REBOUNDS  
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3GM-A FTM-A OFF DEF TOT A PF STL TO BLK PTS
George Fant 37:00 7-14 0-0 3-4 3 10 13 2 3 0 3 4 17
Aleksejs Rostov 29:00 4-6 0-0 0-0 2 2 4 0 2 0 3 1 8
T.J. Price 33:00 3-10 1-5 1-2 0 3 3 1 3 2 4 0 8
Jamal Crook 31:00 4-9 0-1 9-13 2 2 4 2 4 3 4 0 17
Caden Dickerson 19:00 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 3
Brandon Harris 29:00 4-7 4-7 0-0 2 4 6 0 0 0 0 0 12
O'Karo Akamune 11:00 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 4 0 1 0 0
Kevin Kaspar 9:00 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 3 2 0 2 0 0
Kene Anyigbo 2:00 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Percy Blade 0:00 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 200 23-49 6-15 13-19 9 23 32 9 20 5 18 5 65
  46.9% 40.0% 68.4% Team Rebs: 2   Total TO: 18

Florida International Golden Panthers

  REBOUNDS  
PLAYER MIN FGM-A 3GM-A FTM-A OFF DEF TOT A PF STL TO BLK PTS
Jerome Frink 35:00 5-10 1-4 2-2 1 4 5 0 3 0 1 1 13
Tymell Murphy 33:00 5-13 1-2 0-0 4 6 10 3 3 0 2 1 11
Ivan Jurkovic 11:00 1-1 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 0 3 0 2 0 2
Deric Hill 38:00 1-8 0-3 2-2 2 0 2 6 3 1 2 0 4
Malik Smith 38:00 5-16 4-13 0-0 0 2 2 1 2 0 3 0 14
Tola Akomolafe 28:00 2-3 0-1 0-0 4 3 7 0 3 1 0 0 4
Cameron Bell 12:00 5-9 1-3 4-5 0 2 2 2 4 0 3 1 15
Marco Porcher Jimenez 5:00 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Juan Ferrales 0:00 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 200 24-62 7-27 8-9 13 18 31 12 22 2 14 3 63
  38.7% 25.9% 88.9% Team Rebs: 4   Total TO: 14