WKU welcomes Rice this weekend, Old Dominion games rescheduled

WKU Hilltopper guard senior Taveion Hollingsworth (11) accepts a opposing teammates help standing up during the game against the LA Tech Bulldogs on Jan. 9th, 2021 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Nick Kieser

The WKU men’s basketball program (13-4), (6-2, C-USA) is set to face off against Rice (12-8), (6-6, C-USA) this Friday and Saturday after a near three week hiatus of no game action. Currently, WKU rides a four game winning streak and swept Middle Tennessee back on Jan. 23-24. 

Following the Zoom teleconference with WKU basketball it was announced the Hilltoppers would make up its games with Old Dominion on March 5-6. Both games will be in Diddle Arena and are slated for 7 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively. 

Additionally, the official C-USA Championship bracket will be released following the Saturday, March 6 games. 

“Well, I don’t know if I’ll have everybody I don’t know yet,” head coach Rick Stansbury said Thursday prior to the series against Rice. “We’re all excited to get to playing again. We need to get back and get us some rhythm.” 

Rice comes into Diddle Arena this weekend on a two game winning streak taking down Southern Miss in both games a week ago. 

For the Owls, sophomore Quincy Olivari is coming off a strong home series over the Golden Eagles averaging 24.5 points and eight rebounds. He earned his first career C-USA Player of the Week honor due to his performance. 

Heading into the weekend the Hilltoppers next six out of eight games remaining on the schedule are slated to be in Diddle Arena. So far this season WKU is 6-1 at home with their lone C-USA home loss coming against LA Tech on Jan. 9. 

“When you have the choice of playing at home or on the road you would rather be at home,” Stansbury said. “Five of our first eight games were on the road.” 

Going into the series against Rice the Hilltoppers will go up against one of the highest scoring foes in the conference. Rice has scored on average 77.6 points leading up to the series, but also has the third highest amount of turnovers with 270 through 19 games. 

WKU currently averages the seventh most points in C-USA with 74 points a game and allows an average of 69 points per game. 

“It’s challenging being off for almost three weeks now,” redshirt senior Carson Williams said. “We’ve been doing individuals and trying to stay prepared with the circumstances given.”

Williams was also named a Senior CLASS Award candidate back on Monday. He is one of 30 seniors to be put on the watch list. The award is bestowed upon the senior who has notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character, and competition.

“I’m grateful to have that award being one of the top 30,” Williams said. 

According to Williams the Hilltoppers went over Rice some yesterday in preparation of the series and said Rice is a team that has strong shooting and three-point shooting. 

“I feel like if we focus up and really lock in on the gameplan defensively and knowing personnel and how to guard we’ll be fine,” senior Josh Anderson said ahead of the Rice series. 

The Hilltoppers tipoff in Diddle Arena tomorrow at 7 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. 

Sports Editor Nick Kieser can be reached at [email protected] Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.