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Coleby comes up huge in conference opener

Dwight Coleby scored 16 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and had a huge block in the closing seconds of the game to help Western Kentucky edge Louisiana Tech 69-68 on the Thursday night in the Conference USA opener.

He also had two other blocks, dished out an assist and came up with a steal in 34 minutes of action at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“I thought Dwight was a horse all day long,” WKU coach, Rick Stansbury said. “Sixteen and 15, I though he was a load in there.”

Thursday’s game was Coleby’s fifth double-double of the season. It was his first since a 12-points, 12-rebound game on November 24, in a 63-61 win against Southern Methodist University (SMU) at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Coleby is currently averaging 11.1 points and eight rebounds per game. He ranks first on the team and second in Conference USA in blocks with 28 total. Only Marshall’s Ajdin Penava has blocked more (68).

The 6’10” forward is enjoying the best season of his collegiate career after averaging just 5.6 minutes and 1.7 points per game as a reserve for the Kansas Jayhawks.

“I put in all the work and I felt like it should show in results,” Coleby said. “That’s just a part of it and I hope to continue this as the season goes on.”

Stansbury, who first came across Coleby several years ago as a high school recruit, said he feels his decision to bring in Dwight for experience has paid off up to this point.

“Did I expect that? I don’t know,” Stansbury said of Coleby’s performance against fellow Conference USA contender Louisiana Tech. “Did I hope that? Maybe so. I think it’s more than any of us could have expected.

“But after I saw him a little bit, I thought he had a chance to help us for sure. He’s done that.”

Coleby’s performance also caught the attention of Bulldogs coach, Eric Konkol.

“He’s so strong and so athletic,” Konkol said. “He’s got great timing and he does some things that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet.

“Around the rim, the shots he alters, the way that he walls up and catches bodies with his chest, vertical position, it really makes it difficult to score around the basket.”

Along with his scoring and rebounding, Coleby’s ability to avoid foul trouble has also been an area of improvement for him this season, thus allowing him to stay on the court. He’s played at least 27 minutes in each of the Hilltoppers last four games.

The Hilltoppers look to keep the ball rolling today as they get set to take on Southern Mississippi at 3 p.m.

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