Hilltoppers dismantle DIII Lynx to extend winning streak, Anderson out due to COVID-19 protocols


Keilen Frazier

The WKU bench celebrates during the Hilltoppers’ 105-35 rout of Rhodes College on Nov. 30, 2021.

Kaden Gaylord-Day, Men's basketball reporter

WKU (4-3) dismantled Division III Rhodes College (3-3) 105-35, the program’s largest-ever margin of victory, on Tuesday night to win its third straight game.

The whole team saw the floor as 10 players made it on the scoreboard and everybody who touched the hardwood contributed to the box score.

Before the game it was announced that fifth-year guard Josh Anderson would be unavailable for the contest due to COVID-19 protocols.

Jairus Hamilton led with 24 points on 11-13 shooting with six rebounds. Sherman Brashear finished with 20 points on 7-13 shooting with six boards. Luke Frampton had 18 points on 6-8 shooting from behind the arc, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. 

“It felt good, definitely felt good tonight too,” Frampton said. “Sometimes you just get in that zone and it feels like anything you throw up just goes in and tonight was one of those nights, thankfully. But I’m just happy with the win, that’s really all I care about anyways.” 

The Hilltoppers outmatched the Lynx from the get-go in something you can’t teach: size. The tallest player for Rhodes is listed at 6’7 and he looked tiny when sizing up against the 7’5 Jamarion Sharp. 

WKU took a quick 9-0 lead not even a full three minutes into the game, forcing the Lynx to take an early timeout. 

The break didn’t help them much as WKU went on to jump up 16-0 before Rhodes scored its first points with 15:38 on the clock. Frampton started out hot, shooting 3-3 from behind the arc, contributing nine points within the first five minutes. 

WKU’s size kept the Lynx out of the paint as Rhodes was forced to shoot 20 of its 35 first half shots from beyond the three point line. The only “negative” part of the Hilltoppers’ game was their three-point shooting as they went 6-16 as a unit in the first half with Frampton hitting five of them.

WKU took a 51-15 lead into the locker room, shooting 57% in the first half and holding Rhodes to 17% for the first 20 minutes. 

The second half was more of the same. WKU started off on a 17-2 run to push its lead to 51 before the first media timeout of the back half. 

Hamilton took his turn to come out the gates blazing, scoring 12 points in the first nine minutes. If the game wasn’t already over by halftime, the door was slammed shut when WKU embarked on a 27-2 run that put the Hilltoppers up by 60. 

“I thought we had guys who had good shots pass them down and pass it for a better shot, that’s the one thing that stood out,” head coach Rick Stansbury said. “It’s easy when games get out of control like that and you’re a shooter, to shoot a good shot, but I saw on several occasions a good shooter turn down a good shot and pass it to a teammate for a better shot.” 

The game gave Stansbury the opportunity to unload his bench and work different rotations that haven’t made their way to the floor much this season. Brashear and Jaylen Butz made their presence felt in the second half, combining for 33 total points off the bench and adding to the runaway score.

Jamarion Sharp played just 17 minutes but the big man had seven blocks in that time span. 

WKU held the Lynx to 23% shooting and only 15 made field goals. The Hilltoppers forced 24 turnovers while only committing 11. WKU had 46 bench points, 58 points in the paint, and 36 fast break points. 

WKU will get a few days rest before returning to Diddle Arena on Saturday to play its in-state opponent Eastern Kentucky. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CT.

Men’s basketball reporter Kaden Gaylord-Day can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @_KLG3.