Hollingsworth, Bassey lead charge in exhibition win

Taveion Hollingsworth shoots a jumper in WKU’s 96-71 win over Kentucky Wesleyan. Hollingsworth scored 24 points and recorded 10 rebounds. 

Alec Jessie

WKU men’s basketball put together a 96-71 win over Kentucky Wesleyan thanks in part to double-double performances by Charles Bassey and Taveion Hollingsworth.

Bassey, a freshman center, and Hollingsworth, a sophomore guard, both scored 24 points. Redshirt junior wing Jared Savage added 17 of his own. Freshman Dalano Banton did a little bit of everything, as he scored nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished seven assists.

“It was a game of two halves,” Stansbury said. “I thought the first half we flowed pretty good. I thought we were pretty efficient in the first half. Then we got too loose in the second.”

Hollingsworth echoed his coach and liked the energy and performance from the Hilltoppers in the first half.

“We played tough,” Hollingsworth said. “It was hard for the other team to score. We were playing tough defense.”

Adam Goetz and Zach Hopewell led the way for KWC with 19 and 17 points.

Sophomore forward Marek Nelson got the scoring going off of a no-look pass from Banton.

Savage was hot early, knocking down a couple of 3-pointers in the first few minutes to help WKU start the game on a 10-0 run.

WKU lead 14-5 at the first media timeout, with four of five starters scoring in the first four minutes.

Charles Bassey came alive after the break with a big block off the backboard and a dunk on the other end.

KWC was forced to burn a timeout after a Savage jumper capped off a WKU 6-0 run to extend the Hilltoppers’ lead to 19.

WKU kept its foot on the pedal, leading 46-23 with under four minutes to go in the first half.

The Hilltoppers went into halftime with a 55-30 lead. Bassey led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds. Jared Savage added 11 points, going 3-of-6 from three point range.

With sophomore guard Josh Anderson and graduate transfer forward Desean Murray suspended for the game, Savage said the team was forced to step up in their absence.

“Next man up,” Savage said. “Dalano stepped up. Marek stepped up. They did their job and played good.”

With the exhibition games in the books, WKU will begin its regular season Tuesday at 25th-ranked Washington. 

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