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Messenger Sports Briefs for December 23

Messenger Sports Briefs for December 23
Briefly

Hilltoppers take MSU
to the ‘Slaughter’

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — A.J. Slaughter had 20 points and a career-high nine assists to lead Western Kentucky to an 83-72 win over Murray State on Tuesday night.
Steffphon Pettigrew added 18 points and nine rebounds and Jeremy Evans chipped in 15 points and nine boards for the Hilltoppers (6-4).
B.J. Jenkins scored 15 points to lead the Racers (9-3).
In a game that featured 12 lead changes and nine ties, Western Kentucky used an 11-2 run to pull away from Murray State, which led 36-35 at halftime.
After committing 25 turnovers against Louisville on Saturday, Western Kentucky had just 11 against the Racers, who had won nine of their last 10 games.
The Hilltoppers, played without Sergio Kerusch, the team’s second-leading scorer who broke his foot in practice on Friday.
They also did not play Anthony Sally or Cliff Dixon, but still managed 22 points from their bench.
Pettigrew and Slaughter combined for six of Western Kentucky’s seven 3-point field goals as the Hilltoppers shot 50 percent (7-for-14), compared to Murray State, which shot 31 percent (5-for-16).

Hardesty keeps word
on UT turnover pledge

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee senior tailback Montario Hardesty set a goal this season to keep the turnovers to a minimum.
He’s a man of his word. With only a meeting with Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 left on his schedule, the New Bern, N.C., native hasn’t fumbled the ball once this season.
Hardesty enters his final game of the season averaging 108.8 yards rushing and 18.6 yards receiving and has 13 touchdowns.
The 6-foot, 215-pound tailback received some encouragement from former NFL Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George after he rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown in a Sept. 19 loss at Florida.
George phoned Hardesty to tell him he enjoyed watching him and challenge him to improve even more.
The Volunteers wrapped up their final practice in Knoxville on Monday and will travel to Atlanta to prepare for the Chick-fil-A Bowl later this week.

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