Western Kentucky’s celebration of 50 years of basketball inside E.A. Diddle Arena continued Saturday.
This time, the men’s team from the 1992-93 season was recognized at halftime during the Hilltoppers’ 59-54 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock.
That WKU squad finished 26-6 and made a run into the third round of the NCAA tournament, where the Tops lost to Florida State 81-78 in double overtime in Charlotte, N.C.
Mark Bell, Cypheus Bunton, Greg Glass, Darnell Mee, Marty Stone, assistant coach Bobby Jones and head coach Ralph Willard were in attendance and introduced to the crowd at halfcourt.
Former WKU coach Darrin Horn was on that team as well, but he was unable to attend the reunion because of his broadcasting duties. He posted on his Twitter page Friday: “Disappointed I won’t be able to attend ’93 WKU Sweet 16 team reunion Sat @ Diddle. That was a special team w/ a GREAT coach in Ralph Willard. WKU is a terrific school-great people and fans w/ big-time basketball tradition.”
Mee (18.9 ppg) and Bell (16.8 ppg) led WKU in scoring that year while Darius Hall pulled down a team-leading 6.1 rebounds per game.
The current Hilltoppers also wore throwback uniforms from the 1971 season for the second straight contest.
When one WKU player comes back, another – or two – go out.
Redshirt junior guard Caden Dickerson returned Saturday and played for the first time since Nov. 29, when he separated his shoulder at Louisiana-Monroe.
Dickerson played 19 minutes, was 0 for 1 from the floor, had one rebound and two turnovers.
While Dickerson played, sophomore guard Kevin Kaspar (ankle) and freshman forward Eddie Alcantara (hamstring) did not.
Coach Ray Harper said Kaspar and Alcantara – who did not dress Saturday – continue to be day-to-day. Senior point guard Jamal Crook could return from a broken foot next week.
Lady Toppers eyeing top seed
WKU women’s basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard is ready to make her team’s goal known: The Lady Toppers want the No. 1 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
“That’s our goal,” Heard said Saturday after WKU’s 70-61 win over Arkansas-Little Rock. “I’ll put it out there. In the position we’re in, we want to ultimately get that one – not the two-seed. We want to get a one-seed. We want to be the best.”
The Lady Tops (15-3, 8-1 Sun Belt Conference) are tied for the conference and division lead with Middle Tennessee, which beat Louisiana-Lafayette 72-36 on Saturday for its seventh straight win.
Florida Atlantic is a game back in the East Division at 7-2, and North Texas leads the league’s West Division with a 6-3 record.
The division champions receive the top two seeds in the conference tournament, meaning East foes WKU and MTSU can’t both be in the top two. The top five seeds don’t have to play on the tournament’s first day.
“The goal is to get better,” junior guard Bianca McGee said. “If we get better, other teams have to worry about us.”
WKU and MTSU will clash for the first time this season Jan. 27 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Lady Tops host the Lady Raiders on March 2 in the regular season finale.
The Sun Belt tournament begins March 8 in Hot Springs, Ark.
NOTES — Harper fell to 18-7 at home when allowing fewer than 70 points, 10-1 when holding the opponent to fewer than 60 points, 18-5 when attempting more free throws than the opponent and 19-5 when outrebounded by the opponent. ... The Hilltoppers have made a 3-pointer in 792 straight games. ... Attendance was announced at 5,124, the largest crowd of the season. Average attendance for WKU is 4,562 through 10 games, up from 3,399 at this point last year. ... Lady Tops sophomore guard Alexis Govan is one of seven players in the country who have scored in double figures in at least 21 straight games.