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March 3, 2011

Kerusch, Pettigrew Are All-Sun Belt

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WKU seniors Sergio Kerusch and Steffphon Pettigrew took home All-Sun Belt Conference First-Team honors in the league's postseason awards, announced Thursday by the conference office.

Pettigrew's all-conference first-team nod follows second-team recognition after the 2009-10 season. The honor is the first postseason award of Kerusch's WKU career. Both were members of the Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team prior to this season.

Pettigrew has been one of the most consistent players in WKU history, and 2010-11 has been no exception. He ranks second on WKU and sixth in the conference in scoring average in all games and fourth in points per game in conference contests, and he is the only Hilltopper to have started every game this season while playing an average of 33.5 minutes per game.

Pettigrew has scored in double-figures 23 times this season and is also shooting nearly 50.0 percent from the field. The former Kentucky Mr. Basketball has been a force on the offensive glass, where he ranks seventh in the conference in offensive rebounds per game.

The Elizabethtown, Ky., native ranks 14th in career scoring at WKU, and he is just four points shy of tallying 1,500 points for his four-year career. Entering the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, Pettigrew ranks fourth all-time in games played as a Hilltopper, fifth in minutes played and eighth in games started.

Kerusch, the Preseason Player of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference, has lived up to his billing this season by being the only player in the conference to average at least 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He ranks fourth in the conference in scoring and fifth in rebounding, and he has upped his scoring production to the third-best total in the league in conference games only.

Even at 6-foot-5, Kerusch has proven to be one of the best offensive rebounders in the conference by grabbing an average of 3.1 offensive boards per game, the third-highest figure in the league. Kerusch also has eight double-doubles this season, which puts him in elite company with only four other players in the conference who have matched that total.

Kerusch became the 46th member of WKU's 1,000-point scorers club earlier this season, and he needed just 75 games over two-plus seasons to get his 1,000th career point in a Hilltopper uniform. The Memphis, Tenn., native leads the team with nine 20-plus point games this season, including a stretch of six in eight games in late January.

Since the Sun Belt Conference began recognizing three all-conference teams in the 2002-03 season, WKU has had at least one first-team member in all nine seasons. Kerusch and Pettigrew's first-team nods this season give WKU two All-Sun Belt Conference First-Team members for the first time since Courtney Lee and Anthony Winchester were both first-team performers in 2005-06.

WKU begins its quest for the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship at 6:45 on Saturday night in Hot Springs, Ark. The East Division three-seed Hilltoppers will face West Division six-seed ULM in the first round of the tournament. Should the Hilltoppers advance past ULM, they would face West Division second-seed Louisiana-Lafayette at 6:30 on Sunday night.

WKU finished the 2010-11 regular season with a 14-15 overall record and an 8-8 mark in Sun Belt Conference play.

All-Sun Belt Conference First Team
Solomon Bozeman (UALR, Senior, G)
Raymond Taylor (Florida Atlantic, Sophomore, G)
Tristan Thompson (North Texas, Senior, G)
Sergio Kerusch (WKU, Senior, F)
Steffphon Pettigrew (WKU, Senior, F)

All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team
Martavius Adams (Arkansas State, Junior, G)
Chase Hallam (Denver, Sophomore, G)
Greg Gantt (Florida Atlantic, Sophomore, G)
J.J. Thomas (Louisiana-Lafayette, Freshman, F)
James Washington (Middle Tennessee, Senior, G)

All-Sun Belt Conference Third Team
Donald Boone (Arkansas State, Senior, G)
Brett Royster (Florida Atlantic, Senior, F)
Travis Bureau (Louisiana-Lafayette, Senior, F)
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Redshirt-Freshman, C)
Will Weathers (Troy, Sophomore, G)

Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year
Solomon Bozeman (UALR, Senior, G)

Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year
Brett Royster (Florida Atlantic, Senior, F)

Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year
Augustine Rubit (South Alabama, Redshirt-Freshman, C)

The Joe Gottfried Coach of the Year
Mike Jarvis, Florida Atlantic





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