Coleby, Hilltoppers look to continue impressive postseason run

Coleby, Hilltoppers look to continue impressive postseason run
Dwight Coleby. (Photo credit: Western Kentucky University Athletics)

Dwight Coleby and the Western Kentucky University (WKU) Hilltoppers men’s basketball team are looking to keep the momentum going Wednesday against Oklahoma State University (OSU), as the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) continues in New York, New York, United States.

Coleby had 13 points and seven rebounds in an upset win over number one seeded University of Southern California (USC) on Monday. Justin Johnson scored 23 points to lead the Hilltoppers to consecutive NIT wins for the first time since 1948 with the 79-75 victory over the Trojans.

Johnson hit a running hook shot with 1:03 remaining, to give WKU a 76-73 lead. Nick Rakocevic answered with a layup on the next end, and then Johnson split a pair of free-throws with 33.1 seconds left. USC freshman Jordan Usher missed a three-pointer with 24.2 left, however, the Trojans didn’t foul, which led to the Coleby dunk that sealed the game.

With a chance to advance to the semifinal round for the first time in over 30 years on the line next game, Coleby said, WKU has to continue to play the fast-paced style that got it there in the first place.

“I think the guys are really excited about this one, and I know we are going to come out and compete,” Coleby said.

“I know the team will rely heavily on Darius, Justin and I, for our leadership and everything we bring, on and off the court. We just have to stay positive and motivated.

“We have been locked in and focused and have played hard the whole time. We have a lot of energy in practices, and right now, we think that we are prepared to take on anyone.”

Along with Coleby, University of Texas (UT) guard Lashann Higgs looks to continue her impressive playoff run on Friday against University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Higgs led the Longhorns with 19 points and three rebounds in an 85-65 win over Arizona State University (ASU) on Monday.

She scored 15 in the first half and Brooke McCarty took over in the third quarter with 10 points in a 14-2 run, that pushed the Longhorns to a big lead that the Sun Devils could never recover from.

McCarty finished the game with 15 points as Texas booked its fourth consecutive trip to the “Sweet 16” round of the Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament.