Final: WKU 80, Florida Gulf Coast 70

14 02 2011

It wasn’t exactly the most glamorous Valentine’s Day for the Western Kentucky basketball team.
But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fruitful.

The Hilltoppers got 20 points from Sergio Kerusch and a double-double from Juan Pattillo on Monday as they hung on to put away pesky Florida Gulf Coast, 80-70 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“It’s a win,” WKU coach Ken McDonald. “We were saying the right things in the huddles, and it’s a great learning lesson. We were a couple plays away from being in a tough spot where you couldn’t rely on anything (else but yourself).

“We finished it, and we made some shots. But the other lesson is that when you have a lead, you need to understand your offense can mess it up just as bad (as your defense).”

The game was WKU’s first since the dismissal of senior forward Cliff Dixon on Sunday, leaving the group with nine available scholarship bodies on the bench.

The Hilltoppers say that won’t be a distraction or an excuse going forward, as the remaining nine players – plus injured walk-on Mike Gabbard – say they’re together for the long haul.

“We are what we’ve got,” said sophomore guard Caden Dickerson, who finished with a career-high 16 points. “We’re a family. When your number gets called, you go in and play as hard as you can.

“That’s the approach we’re taking.”

 

For full coverage, see Tuesday’s Daily News.

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