BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A new season and new era began Tuesday night for the WKU men’s basketball program, as the Hilltoppers opened the 2016-17 campaign with an 87-79 exhibition victory over Campbellsville at E.A. Diddle Arena.
WKU improved to 54-4 all-time in preseason exhibition games with the win over Campbellsville, which is first-year Hilltopper head coach Rick Stansbury’s alma mater.
The victory was WKU’s 22nd straight in exhibition tune-ups dating back to a 2002-03 loss to the Harlem Globetrotters.
The Hilltoppers shot 48.3 percent from the field and netted 26 of 32 free throws. They were white-hot in the first half, shooting 58.1 percent and making their final 11 shots before the break.
Junior forward Justin Johnson led WKU players in double figures with 22 points and 12 rebounds, including two 3-pointers. Johnson made one 3-pointer all last season.
Graduate senior guard Pancake Thomas added 17 points, while senior forward Ben Lawson had 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
Redshirt sophomore forward Willie Carmichael finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds – making 9 of 10 free throws – and graduate senior guard Junior Lomomba chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Guard Roderick Lawrence led Campbellsville with 29 points. The Tigers are ranked 11th in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
WKU plays its second and final exhibition against Kentucky Wesleyan at 8 p.m. Saturday before hosting Alabama State in the regular season opener at 7 p.m. Nov. 12.
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.