BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The 98th season of WKU Hilltopper Basketball tips off at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday, as the Hilltoppers welcome Campbellsville (Ky.) in their first of two exhibition games.
It’s the first game of a new era for WKU, which has nine newcomers and will play its first contest under first-year coach Rick Stansbury. The Hilltoppers finished 18-16 last season and fell in the Conference USA Tournament semifinals. They made a splash in the spring with the hiring of Stansbury, who previously spent 14 years at the helm at Mississippi State.
The opening exhibition against Campbellsville will be special for Stansbury, who was a four-year letterman at guard for the Tigers from 1977-81 and got his coaching start with the program as a student assistant. As a senior, Stansbury helped lead Campbellsville to the school’s first District 32 hoops title and an appearance in the 1981 NAIA Tournament. He received Campbellsville’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999 and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Hilltoppers have an all-time record of 5-0 against Campbellsville in regular-season contests, including last year’s 97-77 victory in the season opener. The Tigers (1-1) are ranked 11th in the NAIA Coaches’ Preseason Poll.
After Tuesday’s game, WKU hosts Kentucky Wesleyan for an exhibition at 8 p.m. Saturday before hosting Alabama State in the home opener at 7 p.m. Nov. 12.
WKU (0-0) vs. Campbellsville (Ky.) (1-1)
November 1, 2016 | 7:00 PM (CT)
Bowling Green, Ky. | E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
Listen: Hilltopper IMG Sports Network (WKLX 100.7 FM flagship), TuneIn Radio (free) (Randy Lee, pxp | Hal Schmitt, analysis)
Watch: WKUSports.tv ($)
Live Stats: Gametracker
• WKU is 53-4 all-time in preseason exhibition games, and the Hilltoppers have won 21 straight preseason tune-ups dating back to a 2002-03 loss to the Harlem Globetrotters.
• WKU’s 2016-17 roster, which has nine newcomers, represents seven states – Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan and Wisconsin – as well as four other countries – Australia, Canada, England and Serbia.
• With nine newcomers on the roster, WKU returns 31 percent of its scoring, 39 percent of its rebounding and 14 percent of its assists from the 2015-16 campaign.
• Junior Justin Johnson needs 344 points this season to become the 49th player in Hilltopper Basketball history to score 1,000 career points.
• Graduate senior Que Johnson needs 165 points to reach 1,000 for his career across his time at Washington State and WKU. Graduate senior Pancake Thomas needs 263 points to reach 1,000 for his career across his time at New Mexico, Hartford and WKU.• Senior Ben Lawson ranks fifth in WKU history with 128 career blocked shots. His 66 blocks in 2015-16 were the seventh-most in a season in Hilltopper history. Lawson joins Jeremy Evans, Elgrace Wilborn and Chris Marcus as Hilltoppers with at least 50 blocks in multiple seasons.
• WKU was picked to finish third in the Conference USA Preseason Coaches Poll, while Justin Johnson was voted to the 10-member Preseason All-C-USA Team.
• Head coach Rick Stansbury needs seven more wins to reach 300 victories for his career.
• WKU, Middle Tennessee and LA Tech are the only schools in Conference USA to win 20 or more games in at least three of the last four seasons. WKU’s 43 20-win seasons are the seventh-most in NCAA history.
• WKU is 49-15 (.766) at E.A. Diddle Arena over the last four seasons after going 27-17 (.614) in the three seasons prior. The Hilltoppers are 573-162 all-time at Diddle Arena for a .780 winning percentage.
• WKU has made at least one 3-pointer in 906 consecutive games, dating back to March 15, 1987. The 3-point shot was instituted prior to the 1986-87 season.
Trick-or-Treat: All kids 12 years old and under receive free admission. All other tickets just $5 at the gate. Trick-or-treat on the concourse prior to tip-off!
WKU Ticket Office: Online at WKUTickets.com, in person at E.A. Diddle Arena, via phone at 1-800-5-BIG Red or 745-5222 locally.
MED CENTER HEALTH
The 2016-17 WKU Basketball season is presented by Med Center Health. With The Medical Center at its core, Med Center Health has served Southcentral Kentucky for 90 years, and its system of care includes six acute care hospitals, a complete network of immediate to emergency services and services in dozens of specialties. Whether it is emergency treatment for heart attack victims or preventative programs to improve the health of the communities it serves, Med Center Health is committed to providing the highest level of care and service.
How to follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Basketball, follow the team’s social media channels, @WKUBasketball on Twitter, @WKUBasketball on Instagram, and WKU Basketball on Facebook.