CONWAY, S.C. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball built a sizeable early lead and got a
strong night from freshman center Charles Bassey, but a rough start to the second
half was the difference in their 78-62 loss to UCF in the championship game of the
Myrtle Beach Invitational.
The Hilltoppers (3-2) led by as much as 11 in the first half and 32-28 at halftime
as Bassey caught fire from the start, but UCF (4-1) seized control with a 17-4 run
to open the second half.
“We’re only disappointed because at halftime, we’re in a position to have a chance,”
WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “For 100 minutes, we were pretty good in this
tournament. The last 20 minutes, we didn’t play very good. There’s a lot of
positives we’re going to take from it. Nobody probably expected us to be in the
championship game, so we’ll learn again from what happened tonight and get better
WKU was trying to win its first in-season tournament championship since beating No.
4 Kentucky and George Washington in 2001 to claim the NABC Classic title.
Bassey recorded his third double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds and was named
to the all-tournament team. He had 18 points and seven rebounds in the first half,
including WKU’s first 11 points of the game.
“We have to come out in the second half strong,” Bassey said. “We have to get better
at that. It’s a learning experience.”
Sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth added 14 points, while redshirt junior
guard/forward Jared Savage finished with 12.
UCF shot 50.9 percent from the field and outscored WKU 22-9 on points off turnovers.
Aubrey Dawkins paced the Knights with 21 points and was named tournament MVP.
The Hilltoppers have almost a week off before they travel to Indiana State at 1 p.m.
CT Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
“We had a lot of good things come out of this tournament, and we had a lot of bad
things,” Hollingsworth said. “We’ve got to take that into practice next week and get
back on it.”