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MBB CUSA Basketball Championships: Western Kentucky 73 UTEP 67

FRISCO, TX — The start was poor for Western Kentucky, but the fight and the talent late moved the team into the next round to face number one seeded FAU. UTEP was as expected: rough, tough, and defensive. Unfortunately offense requires a little finesse. The Miners couldn’t find the requisite amount of that and lost their early advantage. Western got a balanced attack from Jamarion Sharp, Emmanuel Akot and others. In all five Toppers were in double-figures.

The story was one of halves, with UTEP winning the first through defense and effort while, holding Western to just 30% shooting. The second half WKU hit 56% of their shots while UTEP only managed 39%. That does not seem like a big deal, but UTEP lost the ball seven times and blew at least two wide open buckets off of turnovers.

In the end Western got better shots when it mattered, and UTEP struggled to generate half-court looks. For Pete Golding, next year has to be about getting better offense in these situations. North Texas and FAU have shown you can have great defense with good offense. UTEP has the defense part figured.

For Western Kentucky, Rick Stansbury continues the season. Some twitter fans think WKU won in spite of their coach. The fact is that when your team comes out and essentially face-plants, there is plenty of blame to go around. Beating FAU will silence (temporarily) the critics, and give some hope to a program that has experienced a ton of adversity this (and last) season. Western cannot start out so slowly and expect to comeback like this time. FAU actually has offense.

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