WKU 77, Troy 58 – final

22 01 2011

Sorry this took awhile to get up, but I had to get the paper out.

It’s only been two games, but some wounds appear to be healing for the Western Kentucky basketball team.

Sergio Kerusch finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds as the Hilltoppers grabbed their second straight win with a 77-58 victory over visiting Troy at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“We got kicked while we were down,” Kerusch said. “Now it’s time to do some kicking.”

The win was WKU’s first home victory since beating Southern Illinois on Dec. 11 – snapping a three-game skid at Diddle Arena.

It was also the team’s second Sun Belt win in as many tries after the team started the conference slate 0-4.

And after snapping its six-game skid Thursday at South Alabama, the Hilltoppers have now put together back-to-back wins for the first time since mid-December.

“We’re starting to carry over the things we do in practice,” WKU coach Ken McDonald said. “The atmosphere was good, the fan base was great tonight and the guys put it out there.

“It was a lot of fun to watch them play on both ends, honestly. And put together pretty close to a 40-minute effort.”

More Kerusch comments:

“It was a great win and it was good to come back home and get one down,” Kerusch said. “This is two in a row, and hopefully we can start to build on it.

“We take things personal now. We took it personally that we lost at Troy (on Jan. 13). They had to come to our house and we didn’t plan on losing at home. This team is taking pride in its defense. And after people keep beating you up, one day you’re finally ready to confront the bully. And I think this team is ready to confront its bully.”

“Everybody just finally decided that ‘hey, if we’re not a team, we’re going to lose and if we are a team, we’ll win,’  ” Kerusch said. “Everybody just said ‘we’re all in together.’

“Now it’s one for all and all for one.”

On his fourth double-double in five games:

“You have to attribute all that success to your teammates,” Kerusch said. “There’s no way I can go out and get 25 and 10 by myself. They take shots and they make them, too. I was hot, they gave me the ball and let me go to work.

“It’s a team now. It’s not an individual thing by any means. (Steffphon) Pettigrew had a 31-point game the other day and we’ve bonded. We’re individuals, but we’re doing it collectively now and that’s an amazing feeling.”

Jamal Crook on his near triple-double: 8 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists

“We’re building confidence,” Crook said. “Coach (McDonald) and I have been going back and forth and just talking about confidence in running my team in different situations.”

“We’ve got to just keep staying together and playing as a team,” Crook said. “We’ve got to keep having confidence and keep believing in each other.”

For full coverage, see Sunday’s Daily News

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