FRISCO, Texas — WKU Hilltopper Basketball will vie for its first conference
championship since 2013 when it takes on Marshall at 7:30 p.m. CT Saturday in
The third-seeded Hilltoppers are looking to claim their 23rd NCAA Tournament
appearance, as well as head coach Rick Stansbury’s seventh NCAA tourney berth.
WKU won the two regular-season meetings against No. 4 seed Marshall and leads the
all-time series 15-10.
Stansbury is 2-2 in his career against the Thundering Herd and 18-13 all-time in
conference tourney play.
Conference USA Basketball Championship Final
No. 3 WKU (24-9) vs. No. 4 Marshall (23-10)
March 10, 2018 | 7:30 p.m. CT
Ford Center at The Star | Frisco, Texas
• WKU is 9-4 in conference championship games since joining the Sun Belt Conference
• WKU has 10 wins this season against programs with at least 20 victories: Old
Dominion (3 times), UAB (2), Marshall (2), Purdue (1), Wright State (1) and Nicholls
• The Hilltoppers’ 24 wins and 14 conference victories are both their most since
• WKU’s 98 points against UAB in the quarterfinals were the team’s most in a
conference tournament game since scoring 99 in a double overtime win over Charlotte
in the 1987 Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The 28-point victory was the Tops’
largest margin of victory in a conference tournament win since a 100-65 victory over
Middle Tennessee in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament in 1964-65.
• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 971 consecutive games, dating back to March
15, 1987. The 3-point shot was instituted prior to the 1986-87 season. The
Hilltoppers’ streak is the sixth-longest in the nation behind Kentucky, UNLV,
Vanderbilt, Duke and Arkansas.
• WKU’s current scoring average of 78.8 points per game would be the program’s
highest since 1994-95.
• WKU ranks in the top 10 in the country in field goal percentage and first in
Conference USA at 49.8 percent. That percentage would rank eighth for a single
season in program history.
• WKU is tied with Villanova for the national lead with 11 games shooting 55 percent
or better this season.
• The Hilltoppers have outscored their opponents 1,318-955 in the paint this season.
• Taveion Hollingsworth has scored in double figures in 22 of the last 27 games, and
the freshman is the team’s second-leading scorer over the last 12 outings at 15.1
points per game.
• Justin Johnson is on pace to become the first Hilltopper to lead the team in both
scoring and rebounding in three straight seasons since Jim McDaniels did it from
• Justin Johnson leads C-USA in rebounding at 9.5 boards per game. He could become
the first player to lead the league in rebounding average in back-to-back years
since Memphis’ Joey Dorsey from 2006-08.
• As of Thursday, Justin Johnson was ranked eighth among active NCAA players for
career rebounds and tied for ninth in career double-doubles. Johnson is the only
active player in the nation with at least 1,600 career points and 1,000 rebounds.
• Justin Johnson is ranked 14th on WKU’s all-time scoring list with 1,618 career
points. He needs four points to pass George Fant to move into 13th.
• Justin Johnson ranks fifth on WKU’s all-time rebounding list with 1,011 career
boards. Johnson is one of five Hilltoppers in program history ranked in the top 15
in scoring and the top 10 in rebounding.
• Justin Johnson is the fifth player in WKU history with 1,000 career points and
1,000 rebounds, joining Tom Marshall, Art Spoelstra, Ralph Crosthwaite and Jim
McDaniels, the last to accomplish the feat in 1971.
LAST MEETING WITH MARSHALL: JANUARY 27, 2018
WKU sent an over-capacity E.A. Diddle Arena into hysterics, scoring the last 15
points of the game to pull out an 85-74 home victory over Marshall. Senior guard
Darius Thompson led WKU with 20 points.
HILLTOPPERS BEAT ODU 57-49 IN SEMIFINALS
FRISCO, Texas — For the first time since 2013, WKU Hilltopper Basketball will play
for a championship.
The third-seeded Hilltoppers (24-9) survived a 57-49 semifinal slugfest against No.
2 seed Old Dominion on Friday, advancing to the Conference USA Basketball
Championship final at the Ford Center at The Star.
WKU will face fourth-seeded Marshall at 7:30 p.m. CT Saturday in the championship
game on CBS Sports Network.
The Hilltoppers are looking to secure their 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance, as well
as head coach Rick Stansbury’s seventh NCAA tourney berth. It would be Stansbury’s
12th postseason appearance in his 16 seasons as a head coach.
Old Dominion (25-7) led for most of the first half, but WKU went on a 17-2 run,
including 10 straight points, to open a 28-18 advantage at the 1:58 mark of the
Redshirt junior guard Lamonte Bearden knocked down the Hilltoppers’ first 3 of the
game at the horn, pushing WKU’s halftime lead to 31-22.
The Monarchs got back in front 41-40 with 9:25 left, but WKU answered with two free
throws from freshman guard Taveion Hollingsworth and a 3-pointer from senior forward
Johnson saved his biggest shot for the 1:41 mark, knocking down a contested
3-pointer as the shot clock expired that made it 54-46 and proved to be the dagger.
Johnson finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, notching his 37th double-double and
becoming the fifth player in WKU history with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career
Hollingsworth added 11 points, and Bearden had seven points and four assists. Senior
guard Darius Thompson chipped in six points and six assists, and senior forward
Dwight Coleby had five points and seven rebounds.
Trey Porter paced Old Dominion with 17 points.