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Western Kentucky 73, South Alabama 51

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) -- Junior guard Courtney Lee scored 15 points and had eight rebounds as Western Kentucky defeated South Alabama 73-51 Friday night in a rematch of last year's Sun Belt Conference Tournament final.

South Alabama defeated the Hilltoppers 95-70 in last year's Sun Belt Conference championship.

Western Kentucky (9-4, 1-1) never trailed and scored the first seven points of both halves to help end a three-game losing streak. The Hilltoppers took a 38-27 halftime lead when Orlando Mendez-Valdez hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half.

The Hilltoppers also used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to take its biggest lead of the game at 66-40 with 8:15 left.

South Alabama (6-6, 0-1), which was playing its Sun Belt conference opener, shot only 30 percent, including 27 percent in the first half.

The Hilltoppers shot 51 percent from the field and junior guard Ty Rogers added 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Tyrone Brazelton had 13 points.

Demetric Bennett led the Jaguars with 16 points and seven rebounds. Daon Merritt added 12 points.