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.