WKU gets first win of season despite lack of “edge”

Jeremy Chisenhall

WKU bounced back from an opening night loss to beat Kentucky Wesleyan 83-53 on Wednesday.

WKU’s win came thanks to a widespread attack, as six players scored in double figures. Senior forward Dwight Coleby led the way with 19 points, a career-high for him. Freshman guard Jake Ohmer and freshman forward Marek Nelson followed with 12 points apiece. Junior guard Lamonte Bearden had 11 points. Senior guard Darius Thompson and Senior forward Justin Johnson had 10 points each.

“A balanced attack is better than someone just coming and having, whatever, 40-50 points,” Nelson said. “It makes it a lot easier when you’re sharing the ball, and being unselfish. And having that extra pass, that helps a lot. It makes things a lot easier on the offensive end and the defensive end as well.”

Despite the 30-point win, WKU head coach Rick Stansbury didn’t like his team’s effort after they got up big.

“I never thought we had that edge tonight, that we’ve got to play with, we’ve got to have,” Stansbury said. “You can’t play to your opponent, you can’t play to that score.”

Nelson said that the players agreed that the team let their foot off the gas after getting up big.

Coleby had a career night, finishing with a double-double, dropping a career-high 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. A big aspect of his success in game two was avoiding foul trouble after picking up four fouls against Missouri State.

“That was a major key for me,” Coleby said of avoiding foul trouble. “Big improvement, I guess.”

Despite Coleby’s big numbers, Stansbury said he was hard on Coleby for not having enough effort on both ends.

“I was on Dwight after the game as much as anybody, because one thing that doesn’t show in that stat, is how many did he give up?” Stansbury said. “They’re good stats, but I just know the competition we’re up against.”

Coleby agreed with Stansbury that he wasn’t great on both ends, but also said he felt good about getting a double-double.

Though he fell just short of double figures, freshman guard Taveion Hollingsworth contributed in a number of ways. He scored nine points, pulled in five rebounds and recorded two steals to go along with two assists.

WKU also doubled KWC up in turnovers, forcing 24 and giving up just 12. The Hilltoppers scored 30 points off those turnovers, which tripled KWC’s points off turnover production.

WKU rolled in the first half, hitting on 48 percent of their shots and committing just three fouls. They struggled from 3-point range, making just 25 percent of their attempts, with their only two makes coming from freshman guard Taveion Hollingsworth at the start of the game and senior guard Darius Thompson on the following possession. Kentucky Wesleyan used a 6-0 run to try to stay within striking distance, but the Hilltoppers pushed away and took a 41-29 lead into the half.

Dwight Coleby led the way with 14 points and four rebounds, marking a career-high in points just halfway through the game. Thompson did a little bit of everything in the first half, recording three points, four rebounds and three assists.

WKU strengthened its lead in the second half, thanks in part to a 14-2 run. They were led by Ohmer down the stretch, who recorded 10 second half points. Bearden also stood out with eight points, two rebounds and two assists in the second half. The poor 3-point shooting continued into the second half though, as the Hilltoppers shot just 4-17 from deep for the game.

WKU is now 1-1 on the year, and will play Nicholls State on Sunday at 5 p.m. in Diddle Arena. Nicholls State is a team that is known to press, something that Stansbury says will complicate things for the Hilltoppers.

“It’s a bad style for where we’re at right now. They’re going to make it an ugly game, that’s their style.”

Reporter Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 859-760-0198 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.