The comeback was furious, but the start was a dud.
In the end, the latter proved too great to overcome the former.
WKU nearly erased a 17-point, second-half deficit, but came up three points short in a 67-64 loss at Louisiana-Lafayette.
“It’s a learning process and there were some things in this game we can really learn from if we take them forward,” WKU coach Ken McDonald said. “But we’re getting down to tournament play, and you have to have the maturity to understand that if you spot a team like that, you’re done for the year.
“We’re still in the hunt and we need to take care of business to get in position for that No. 2 seed.”
The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Hilltoppers, and is WKU’s first road loss since Jan. 13 at Troy. The victory was the ninth straight for Louisiana-Lafayette.
With a Middle Tennessee loss earlier Saturday, WKU remains 1 1/2 games back of the Blue Raiders for second place in the Sun Belt East and a first-round bye in the Sun Belt Tournament.
“They were more physical than us and we didn’t respond,” McDonald said of the early deficit. “We didn’t respond like we’ve been responding lately.”