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  2007-2008    Other Seasons    2009-2010  

SBC: Season 2008-2009

Western Kentucky Wins Sun Belt Tournament
(Photo: wkusports)

Sun Belt
Regular Season
East Division
1. W.Kentucky 15-3 23-8
2. Troy 14-4 19-12
3. S.Alabama 10-8 20-12
3. Middle Tenn.St. 10-8 18-14
5. Florida Intern. 7-11 13-20
6. Florida Atlantic 2-16 6-26
West Division
1. UALR 15-3 23-8
2. N.Texas 11-7 20-12
3. Denver 9-9 15-16
4. La-Lafayette 7-11 10-20
5. New Orleans 6-12 11-19
5. La-Monroe 6-12 10-20
7. Arkansas St. 5-13 13-17

Western Kentucky University 2008-09
20 Mendez-Valdez O. 6'1'' (185) G USA
23 Walker Mike 6'7'' (201) F USA
40 Evans Jeremy 6'9'' (206) F USA
30 Pettigrew Steffphon 6'5'' (196) G/F USA
2 Sally Anthony 6'2'' (188) G USA
33 Komadinic Uros 6'6'' (198) F Serbian
4 Slaughter AJ 6'3'' (191) G USA
1 Kerusch Sergio 6'5'' (196) G/F USA
11 Cvoro Dejan 6'5'' (196) G Serbian
31 Aguilar Japeth 6'9'' (206) C Filipino
41 Maresca Matt 6'8'' (203) F USA
35 Magley D.J. 6'9'' (206) F USA
55 Milosevic Nemanja 6'8'' (203) C Montenegrin
21 Decker Adam 5'11'' (180) G USA

Western Kentucky University (24-8) built a 15-point first-half cushion but had to rally in the final 12 minutes to hold off South Alabama (20-13) 64-56 on Tuesday night at Summit Arena, winning the program's seventh Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship. The Hilltoppers punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season and the 21st time in the program's 90-year history.
'There was a lot of focus tonight on team defense and rebounding. It was a physical game again, the third in a row, and on the offensive end I really wanted to be aggressive against South Alabama. We really started off the game aggressive,' said WKU head coach Ken McDonald , only the second Hilltopper coach to win his first three postseason games. 'We got away from that a little bit when South Alabama went on their run, but we were able to get back in the aggressive mode the last 10 minutes, and I thought we kind of controlled the game from that point forward.' WKU is now 7-4 all-time in 11 appearances in the Sun Belt Tournament finals, winning their fifth tournament title in the last eight years. The Hilltoppers scored the first 11 points of the game, nine coming from the sophomore Steffphon Pettigrew (6'5''-G/F). After DeAndre Coleman (6'7''-F-86) got the Jaguars on the board with a tough spinning lay-up at the 15:38 mark, D.J. Magley (6'9''-F) had an offensive stickback and Pettigrew connected on his second three-pointer as the Toppers went up 16-4 with 13:07 left in the first half. Pettigrew stayed hot, knocking down his third triple of the first half as the Toppers build their largest lead of the game 27-12 with 5:47 remaining. The 2007 Kentucky Mr. Basketball scored all of his 15 points in the opening stanza to go with seven rebounds in 35 minutes.
South Alabama reduced the deficit to 35-25 at the break, and in a second-half start that mirrored the Toppers' regular season finale at Middle Tennesse, the Jaguars gave WKU its best shot, reeling off an 18-4 run to take a 43-39 lead with 12:46 to play on a Domonic Tilford (5'10''-G-87) three-pointer. It was last points the Jaguars' leading scorer would record as he finished with 12 for the game. But as they have so many times this year, WKU responded. Magley rebounded and scored a missed AJ Slaughter (6'3''-G) three-pointer, then Slaughter connected from long range, and Sergio Kerusch (6'5''-G/F) flushed a nice feed from Orlando Mendez-Valdez (6'1''-G) of Western Kentucky University for seven-straight points, part of a 14-3 run as WKU reclaimed control 53-46 with 7:02 left. Slaughter finished with a team-high 18 points and earned Sun Belt Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Mendez-Valdez and Kerusch added 10 and eight respectively and were also named to the All-Tournament team. Magley's eight points off the bench tied a season-high set on November 18 against Campbellsville. He also had six boards. As a team, WKU outrebounded the best rebounding team in the league 32-22. Coleman finished with a career-best 27 points and nine rebounds off the bench to lead South Alabama.
WKU connected on 14-of-14 free throws and 8-of-23 three-point attempts. WKU will now await the NCAA Tournament bracket announcement on Sunday, March 15 to find out their seed, opponent, and location. The Hilltoppers won their first two games of last year's 'Big Dance' in advancing to the program's seventh NCAA Sweet 16.
Courtesy of wkusports

Tournament Final: WKU - South Alabama 64-56
Tournament Semifinals:
WKU - North Texas 77-70
South Alabama - UALR 54-44

Sun Belt All-Tournament MVP: AJ Slaughter of WKU

Sun Belt All-Tournament Team
Josh White (5'10''-G-88) of North Texas
DeAndre Coleman of South Alabama
Domonic Tilford of South Alabama
Orlando Mendez-Valdez of WKU
Sergio Kerusch of WKU
AJ Slaughter of WKU

All-Sun Belt 1st Team 2008-09

All-Sun Belt 1st Team
Shane Edwards (6'7''-F-87) of UALR
Nate Rohnert (6'5''-G/F-87) of Denver
Desmond Yates (6'7''-F-86) of Middle Tennessee
Brandon Hazzard (6'2''-G-87) of Troy
Orlando Mendez-Valdez of WKU

All-Sun Belt 2nd Team
Paul Graham (6'5''-G-85) of Florida Atlantic
Domonic Tilford of South Alabama
Brandon Davis (6'6''-F) of South Alabama
Richard Delk (6'4''-G-86) of Troy
AJ Slaughter of WKU

All-Sun Belt 3rd Team
Freddy Asprilla (6'10''-F/C-87) of FIU
Kyndall Dykes (6'3''-F-87) of New Orleans
Eric Tramiel (6'7''-F-88) of North Texas
DeAndre Coleman of South Alabama
Michael Vogler (6'1''-G-87) of Troy

Sun Belt Player of the Year: Orlando Mendez-Valdez of WKU
Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year: John Fowler (6'4''-F-86) of UALR
Sun Belt Freshman of the Year: Freddy Asprilla of FIU
Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year: Richard Delk of Troy
Sun Belt Coach of the Year: Don Maestri of Troy

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