BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball opened the game with a 10-0 run
Saturday and never looked back, rolling to a 96-71 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan in
its final exhibition at E.A. Diddle Arena.
The Hilltoppers scored the first 10 points of the game, allowed Kentucky Wesleyan to
answer with five points, then scored 10 more in a row to pull away in the early
“A game of two halves,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “I thought the first
half, I thought we flowed pretty good. I thought some things from the other night
were better. … I thought we were pretty efficient. We shared the ball, moved the
ball. But the second half, wasn’t quite as efficient. Mentally, we didn’t have that
edge. Again, they made some shots and I just didn’t think we were near as efficient.
Again, it’s hard to get a young team to understand that there aren’t going to be
many games where you’re up 25, 30 in the second half. It’s not going to happen.
You’ve got to play every game, every possession as if it’s the last possession. It’s
easier said than done.
“It’s hard for new guys and young guys to understand that. Veteran teams understand
playing possessions the same way, so that’s the teaching and learning thing we’ve
got from this.”
Sophomore Taveion Hollingsworth and freshman Charles Bassey each scored 24 points
and recorded a double-double, and the Hilltoppers dominated the inside game.
WKU outrebounded Kentucky Wesleyan 56-29 and outscored the Panthers 46-12 in the
paint. Bassey and Hollingsworth had 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
But even with those numbers, Hollingsworth felt the team needed to bring its
first-half performance into the second half to make it a complete effort.
“We’ve got to come out tough both halves, no matter what the score is,”
Hollingsworth said. “Like Coach says in the locker room before we come back out, the
score is 0-0 no matter what the score is. If we put that in our minds and just keep
playing, then we’ll be fine.”
Redshirt junior guard/forward Jared Savage scored 17 points with five made
3-pointers and seven rebounds, and freshman guard Dalano Banton filled the stat
sheet with nine points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Sophomore forward Marek Nelson tallied seven points, five rebounds and five assists.
WKU led 55-30 at halftime and pushed the advantage as high as 32 with 14:23 to play.
The Hilltoppers made 22 of 30 free throws, including 15 of 19 combined from
Hollingsworth and Bassey.
Adam Goetz paced Kentucky Wesleyan with 19 points.
WKU opens the regular season at No. 25/24 Washington at 9:30 p.m. CT Tuesday in
Seattle, Wash. The game will air on ESPNU.
“We’re all excited for Tuesday,” Savage said. “I know we’re going into a great team
and we’ve just got to come ready.”