Bennett scores 16 to keep S. Alabama at top of Sun Belt
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP)—Demetric Bennett scored 16 points and South Alabama hit six of eight free throws in the final minute to hold off Sun Belt Conference rival Western Kentucky 69-64 Thursday night.
Trailing 63-60 with 1:08 remaining in the game, Courtney Lee missed a jumper, and South Alabama hit six free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
The Jaguars (22-5, 14-2 Sun Belt East Division) and Hilltoppers (21-6, 13-2 SBC East) started out shooting a combined 5-for-20 in the first five minutes, but South Alabama was able to push a slim lead into double digits to 41-30 at halftime.
In the second half, the Hilltoppers pushed back, taking brief one-point leads twice with under four minutes left in the game.
Lee led Western Kentucky with a game-high 18 points.
“You all that were here saw one heck of a game,” South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow said. “I think that both programs should be proud of the execution out there … I?ve been asked I don’t know how many times, ‘Should this conference get two bids in the (NCAA) tournament?”’ I think you all saw what my answer is.”
Brandon Davis added a double-double for the Jaguars, scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Both of Western Kentucky’s conference losses have been to the Jaguars.