‘Couldn’t have been scripted better’ | Snipes leads Hilltoppers over Campbellsville

Junior guard Fredrick Edmond (25) dunks the ball during the game against Campbellsville University, Saturday, November 14, at Diddle Arena. Edmond finished the game with 20 points and six rebounds. Matt Lunsford/HERALD 

John Reecer

The WKU basketball team won its first game of the 2015-2016 season Saturday night as it defeated the Campbellsville University Tigers 97-77.

Redshirt senior forward Nigel Snipes enjoyed the best night of his career, scoring 24 points on 8-13 shooting while also adding three rebounds.

“This couldn’t have been scripted better,” Head Coach Ray Harper said. “Nigel is probably our hardest worker and our most committed kid since we got back to school in August. For him to have the best game in the first contest of the season is awesome. He is finally playing fearless and with a lot of confidence.”

The WKU offense fired on all cylinders as the Hilltoppers shot a combined 48 percent from the field on the night. Four different players scored in double figures as the team notched 20 assists while only committing 10 turnovers.

“Having 20 assists tonight to just 10 turnovers was a huge step forward for us tonight,” sophomore forward Justin Johnson said.” “We moved the ball very well tonight, and we made the extra pass a lot which really helped our offense.”

Snipes didn’t steal the entire spotlight in the contest. Johnson enjoyed one of the best nights of his Hilltopper career as well, scoring 16 points and hustling for 15 rebounds.

“He pursued rebounds out of his area,” Harper said. “He really chased the ball well, and that’s what good rebounders do. He brought his lunch pail tonight, and he wasn’t afraid to get dirty. He is capable of being a big-time rebounder.”

In WKU’s exhibition matches, one major area of concern was that the Hilltoppers only grabbed nine offensive rebounds in both contests as a team. That problem took a step in the right direction after Johnson’s big night.

“Our first two games were against not-so-great competition, and we only had nine offensive rebounds as a team,” Johnson said. “That really set in my head before we went out there tonight, and it looks like I got nine myself.”

Despite the dominant offense output, the Hilltoppers still gave up 77 points in the matchup, and Tiger guard Hagen Tyler scored a game-high 28 points.

“Hats off to Tyler; he played a really good game and was lights out. He was eight of 12 from the 3-point line, and he made things difficult on us,” Harper said. “We just have to do a lot better job of defending the three.”

Junior guard Fredrick Edmond and junior forward Ben Lawson also enjoyed good games as Edmond recorded 20 points, six assists and five rebounds while Lawson notched 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks.

The Hilltoppers will try to earn their second victory of the season in a road test against Belmont University at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.