Jake Ohmer 3-pointer caps WKU’s comeback win over SMU

battle for atlantis

Jeremy Chisenhall

WKU beat SMU and finished fifth in the Battle 4 Atlantis thanks to a late 3-pointer from freshman guard Jake Ohmer.

WKU trailed 61-60 with 4.5 seconds remaining when Ohmer took a pass from senior forward Justin Johnson in the right corner and drilled the game-winning shot right in front of WKU’s bench. It capped off a 6-0 run over the final 1:03 of the game to finish a successful comeback from a double-digit deficit for the Hilltoppers.

“I just try to make big plays on offense, so that’s what I did,” Ohmer said. “I knew when they gave it to Justin, they were going to come down and pinch, so I knew I had to slide up and let him see me.”

This was the second big performance in a row for Ohmer, as he was a major factor in WKU’s upset win over No. 18 Purdue with 15 points and three 3-pointers.

Dwight Coleby came up huge with a double-double in his final homecoming game. The Nassau, Bahamas native had 12 points and 12 rebounds. He was an efficient 5-7 from the field.

“This guy right here,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said, motioning to Coleby. “He was the difference in this ballgame for us. He was the one guy that found ways to not accept fatigue, and push through it.”

Junior guard Lamonte Bearden had 14 points and 6 assists, both team-highs. Senior guard Darius Thompson also contributed with 13 points.

The first half was a defensive battle for both sides. WKU shot just 40.7 percent from the field, and just 22 percent from 3-point range. But they still managed to hold SMU to 29 points, and they forced 11 turnovers. That would help WKU hold the SMU lead down to just five points.

Coleby had a productive first half, scoring eight points and bringing in nine rebounds. Lamonte Bearden moved the ball well, dishing four assists. WKU had to deal with SMU’s Jarrey Foster, who had a game-high 11 points in the first half.

The key for WKU was to stay within striking distance in the second half. The offense came to life, as the Hilltoppers shot 50 percent in the second half, and despite trailing for 19:55 of the half, Ohmer’s 3-pointer gave them the lead for the last five seconds and it was all they needed.

“He did what he does: shoot that basketball,” Stansbury said of Ohmer. “And he can do that about as good as anybody.”

Ohmer scored all nine of his points in the second half, coming from three 3-pointers. Thompson also had all 11 of his points in the second half, and Bearden erupted for 12 in the second half, including a 3-pointer.

The Hilltoppers maintained the defensive pressure in the second half, forcing 21 turnovers for the game. Both teams shot 45 percent, and both teams made 25 shots from the field. WKU shot just 33 percent from deep.

WKU was able to win despite SMU’s Ethan Chargois going for 21 points, a game-high.

WKU finishes the Battle 4 Atlantis with a 2-1 record, notching wins over No. 18 Purdue and SMU and losing to No. 5 Villanova.

“We’ll take a lot of confidence,” Stansbury said. “Where we go now? We’re not going to sneak up on anybody. There will be a bull’s-eye on us. No one will take Western Kentucky for granted. I think everyone across the country now has seen what we did right here.”

The Hilltoppers will resume play stateside against Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday in Diddle Arena at 7 p.m. CT.