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Western Kentucky defeats Louisiana-Lafayette 77-65

Jan 1, 2010 - 2:05 AM BOWLING GREEN, Ky.(AP) -- Steffphon Pettigrew scored 17 points to lead Western Kentucky past Louisiana-Lafayette 77-65 on Thursday night in the Hilltoppers' conference opener.

After Louisiana-Lafayette (4-9, 1-1 Sun Belt Conference) took its second lead of the game at 44-42, Western Kentucky (7-4, 1-0) responded with a 29-12 run to put the contest out of reach.

The Ragin' Cajuns were down by as many as 10 in the first half, but came back early in the second half with three 3-pointers by Randell Daigle. When Daigle picked up his fourth foul, the Hilltoppers went on their decisive run.

Jeremy Evans scored 16 points and A.J. Slaughter added 14 points and six assists for Western Kentucky.

The Hilltoppers had 10 steals, forcing 18 Louisiana-Lafeyette turnovers compared to seven for the Hilltoppers.

Tyren Johnson had 17 points and eight rebounds and Daigle added 14 points for the Ragin' Cajuns.