Lamonte Bearden to return to Hilltopper lineup Sunday

WKU guard Lamonte Bearden is introduced before the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden on March 27. The redshirt junior tallied 12 points in the 69-64 loss to Utah.

Alec Jessie

The WKU basketball team will get a key piece back in the fold for the final stretch of non-conference play.

Redshirt senior guard Lamonte Bearden is eligible again after missing the first nine games of the season due to academic ineligibility. His first game will be this Sunday against Troy at 2 p.m. in Diddle Arena.

“He’ll be ready to go on Sunday,” Stansbury said. “It gives us a little more flexibility out there. It makes us a bit more skilled, helps solve some of those problems. Getting Lamonte back just adds to all of that. Hopefully we get a more few easy baskets.”

Stansbury also said Bearden will probably start, but he will play around with the rotation some and see how long he can go. He expects Bearden to be rusty at first, but to knock it off quickly.

The senior guard started 34 games a season ago. Bearden averaged 11.8 points and 3.4 assists per game last year. He dished out 131 assists compared to 92 turnovers.

Sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth believes Bearden is even better now than a season ago.

“He’s better than what he was when he left off,” Hollingsworth said. “He’s got a lot of things he can show you all that we’ve seen in practice. I hope you all are ready for it.”

Bearden’s return to the court is sure to give the Hilltoppers a boost on offense. The Hilltoppers currently have 104 assists and 126 turnovers on the season. Last year, with Bearden making an appearance in each game, WKU averaged 13.6 assists per game to 11.6 turnovers per game.

Hollingsworth also thinks Bearden is the final key to unlocking a special season at WKU.

“We’ve got a floor general now,” Hollingsworth said. “He’s our senior point guard and I’m glad he’s back.”

Reporter Alec Jessie can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Alec on Twitter at @Alec_Jessie.