HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — The final score was indicative of the entire 40 minutes – but the end result was a win, and that’s all Western Kentucky cares about at this point.
The Hilltoppers got double-doubles from Sergio Kerusch and Steffphon Pettigrew on Saturday, and closed the game on a 12-0 run to put away pesky Louisiana-Monroe 66-50 during the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament at the Convention Center Court in Hot Springs, Ark.
“We showed our heart tonight and hustled our tails off,” said Kerusch, who finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds. “Every day is do or die. Every day could be our last and we plan on playing like that.
“When you get a wild animal against the wall that’s when he’s his most vicious – we know that you lose one you go home, and we’re not ready to go home.”
With the win, the Hilltoppers advance to play Louisiana-Lafayette during a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal matchup tonight at the Summit Arena.
Entering tonight’s contest – the Ragin’ Cajuns hold the second-longest active winning streak in the country at 11 games. One of those wins coming against WKU in Lafayette, La. last month.
But WKU doesn’t have time to worry about those things – it’s March. Meaning that just the focus is simply on putting one foot in front of the other.
“One thing we talked about going into the game was that we have to coach ourselves and move on to the next play,” WKU coach Ken McDonald said. “If we’re trying to get corrections made, you do it and get to the next play. We don’t have time anymore to allow a 15-point run or go on a 10-minute drought.
“That’ll continue to be our focus (for the rest of the tournament).”