Taveion Hollingsworth captures 1st C-USA Player of the Week honor

Junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth (11) celebrates following a made shot during the WKU Hilltoppers’ 71-69 comeback win over the Old Dominion Monarchs on Thursday, Jan. 16 in Diddle Arena.

Elliott Wells

Junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth was named Conference USA Co-Player of the Week for the first time in his career after showcasing a pair of impressive offensive displays for the WKU men’s basketball team in its two home victories over the weekend, the league office announced Monday.

The honor is the third C-USA weekly award in Hollingsworth’s career overall, but it’s the first Player of the Week nod for the junior standout.

It’s also the 6-foot-2-inch, 165-pounder’s first recognition from the C-USA league office since his standout 2017-18 campaign, when he racked up two C-USA Freshman of the Week honors on Dec. 18, 2017 and Feb. 12, 2018. Later that year, he was also named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team.

As a freshman, Hollingsworth scored a career-high 30 points on two different occasions, one of which came during WKU’s miracle run to the Final Four round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Hollingsworth had most recently dropped 30 points on March 21, 2018, when the Hilltoppers defeated Oklahoma State 92-84 and clinched a trip to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four.

That changed on Saturday, as Hollingsworth tied his career-high of 30 points again while leading WKU to a decisive 80-63 blowout victory against Charlotte.

Hollingsworth and the Hilltoppers handed the 49ers their first conference loss of the season, and WKU now sits tied for first place in C-USA standings with North Texas, hoisting a 5-1 record in league play.

The former 2017 Kentucky Mr. Basketball also poured in 23 points and shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line during WKU’s comeback victory against Old Dominion on Thursday night.

The Hilltoppers trailed the Monarchs 64-52 with just 3:30 left to play, but Hollingsworth guided WKU to victory by recording nine points in the final 38 seconds and then scoring the go-ahead basket with 3.5 seconds remaining to lift WKU to a thrilling 71-69 win.

The Lexington native finished the weekend setting five individual season-high totals while averaging 26.5 points per game, shooting 60% from the floor and posting a remarkable 21-of-21 mark at the foul line.

Head coach Rick Stansbury’s do-it-all scorer put the Hilltoppers on his back throughout two winning outings, playing 75 of 80 possible minutes across the week.

Hollingsworth paces WKU with 14.9 points per game this year, and he now becomes the fourth Hilltopper player to receive a C-USA weekly award this season, following in the footsteps of Dec. 2 C-USA of the Week Charles Bassey, Nov. 25 C-USA Freshman of the Week Jordan Rawls and Jan. 6 C-USA Co-Player of the Week Carson Williams.

Reporter Elliott Wells can be reached at [email protected] Follow Elliott on Twitter at @ewells5.