Hilltoppers shake off rust in win over Campbellsville

Freshman center Charles Bassey attempts a shot in the post against Campbellsville center Andrew Smith. Bassey scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 91-66 WKU win. 

Jeremy Chisenhall

WKU started off its exhibition slate with a 91-66 win over Campbellsville Tuesday thanks to a strong second half.

The Hilltoppers were led by sophomore guard Josh Anderson, who recorded a game-high 22 points and five assists. Freshman center Charles Bassey recorded a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Redshirt junior wing Jared Savage stuffed the stat-sheet with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.

“I had some trouble at first with my emotions and, you know, getting riled up in the crowd,” Anderson, who was starting at point guard for the first time, said. “But I feel like as we, you know, keep going throughout the season I feel like we’re going to get better and better.”

Campbellsville was able to hang around early thanks to contributions from senior forward Andrew Smith and senior guard Stephaun Adams, who combined for all of CU’s first 13 points to help the Tigers grab an 24-22 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game.

WKU distanced itself a bit when sophomore guard Jake Ohmer hit two 3-pointers that gave the Hilltoppers a 41-31 lead, their first double-digit lead of the game. WKU followed that with a 6-0 run to take a 47-33 lead. But CU followed that with a 6-0 run of its own, capped off by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from senior guard Hagen Tyler to cut the WKU lead to eight points. The Hilltoppers went into the half with a 47-39 lead.

Graduate transfer forward Desean Murray led the Hilltoppers in points with 10 at halftime. Savage led the team in assists and rebounds at the half, as he posted five points, five rebounds and three assists in the first 20 minutes.

WKU shot 61.3 percent from the field in the first half, but struggled from the foul line, shooting 50 percent on free throws.

Tyler led the Tigers with 14 points on four 3-pointers in the first half. He finished with 19 points, leading the Tigers in that category.

WKU pulled away in the second half thanks to Anderson and Savage. Anderson went on a singlehanded 9-0 run at one point in the second half to push WKU’s lead to 17 points. Savage went on a 5-0 run of his own moments later.

“I think for everybody, you know the emotions just got out of everybody,” Anderson said. “The second half came around, we got more comfortable and just started playing.”

The Hilltoppers managed to quiet the Tigers in the second half, holding them to just three 3-pointers after conceding 10 in the first half.

“They had the advantage offensively, from the standpoint of having to guard them,” head coach Rick Stansbury said. “They’re playing four guards a bunch, guys who can dribble it and shoot it. You know, that’s not easy to defend. We got beat way too many times off that bounce that created a 3-point shot.”

Anderson stood out in the second half with 13 points, helping the Hilltoppers to really pull away. Savage also stood out, as he hit two 3-pointers and scored 14 points.

WKU closed the game by making seven of its last nine shots from the field to wrap up the 25-point victory.

The Hilltoppers were without sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth after what the program said was “a violation of team rules.” He will return for the Hilltoppers’ next exhibition against Kentucky Wesleyan. Ohmer started in his place, recording eight points on two 3-pointers, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

WKU will take on KWC in its final exhibition before the Hilltoppers head to No. 25 Washington to start the season.


Sports Editor Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.