NASHVILLE, Tenn. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball made a late comeback Wednesday night
against Belmont after falling behind 19, but couldn’t quite get over the hump in an
80-74 road loss.
The Hilltoppers (5-6) trailed 55-36 with 15:53 left in the game, but got back into
the fray with a 13-0 run.
They had a 3-point try in the waning seconds to trim their deficit to one, but the
shot didn’t drop – a common theme throughout the evening.
“I thought the first half, we weren’t very good, and a few minutes of the second
half,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “But after that, I thought our kids
showed some toughness and showed some grit. We found a way to get some stops, we
were more efficient offensively, and we were much more efficient scoring the
basketball. You just can’t spot somebody 12 points at halftime, especially against a
With leading scorers Taveion Hollingsworth and Jared Savage scoring a combined 12
points on 4-of-22 shooting, the Hilltoppers turned to their reserves for a
season-high 33 points off the bench.
Sophomore guard Josh Anderson was one of those players with 16 points, six rebounds
and two assists. Freshman center Charles Bassey tied for the team lead in scoring
with 16 points and 10 rebounds, recording his fifth double-double of the year.
Freshman guard Dalano Banton tallied 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench,
while redshirt senior guard Lamonte Bearden had 11 points and three steals.
“Playing against any good teams at this level, going down like that is the hardest
thing to come back from,” Banton said. “Trying to come back and having that energy
late, we just have to do it for 40 minutes.”
Belmont (9-1) led 42-38 at halftime and quickly ran that advantage up to 19 with a
3-pointer by Grayson Murphy at the 15:53 mark. The guard netted five shots from long
range and scored 20 points, matching his teammate Dylan Windler, who finished with
20 points and 11 rebounds.
Two free throws by Savage capped WKU’s 13-0 run and made it 57-51 Belmont with 11:14
to play, but Murphy answered with a 3.
A basket by Anderson cut WKU’s deficit to 78-74 with 18 seconds left, and the
Hilltoppers had a 3-point try from Hollingsworth after a steal, but it came up
WKU shot 44.1 percent for the game, including 56 percent in the second half. The
Hilltoppers netted 19 of 20 free throws and outrebounded the Bruins 40-30.
“If you go down by 19 against any team, it’s going to be hard to come back,”
Anderson said. “We just have to figure that out.”
WKU finishes non-conference play with two home games, starting against Saint Mary’s
2 p.m. CT Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.