WKU dominates Centre 90-52 in its return home, McKnight earns fourth triple-double in program history

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Arthur Trickett-Wile

Sophomore guard Isaiah Range (40) of the ASU Hornets attempts to block a layup by WKU sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight (20) in Diddle Arena on Tuesday evening, Nov. 9 of 2021, during the Hilltoppers’ first match of the season, a nail-biter, which they won 79-74.

Kaden Gaylord-Day, Men's basketball reporter

WKU (7-4) handled in-state opponent Centre College (4-5) 90-52, winning its sixth of its last seven games, in its return to Diddle arena. Sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight earned WKU’s second triple-double of the season and the fourth in all-time program history.

McKnight finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Senior guard Josh Anderson finished with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Senior forward Jairus Hamilton finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Nine total Hilltoppers made it onto the scoreboard. 

The Hilltoppers’ victory on Tuesday followed a heart fulfilling win against Ole Miss this past Saturday after a devastating tornado hit Bowling Green. 

“This tornado hit, took some lives, destroyed some homes and we just pray and hope everything comes together,” McKnight said.  “With the community behind us every game, we are going to try to come out with the win.” 

WKU started out on a 13-0 run in under three minutes to set the fast paced tone early. This was the first game in 10 days for the Colonels and it showed. Centre was able to get some good shots off, but they weren’t falling as they started 1-of-17 from the field. 

WKU outsized and outmatched Centre. Of their first 25 shots, the Colonels shot 16 from behind the three-point line and missed all 16 before senior Jalen Wlliams knocked in their first one. They ended up hitting seven total shots in the first half with four coming from the three-point line. 

WKU outscored them 18-4 in the paint while totaling 15 assists, taking a 48-18 lead into the locker room. 

“That’s the way you want to come out of the locker room,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “Your challenge is now can you play with the same focus, same energy, and the same togetherness and for the most part we did that really well for the first half.” 

Centre got off to a better start in the second half, scoring 10 points in under four minutes and eventually scoring more points in the second half than the first. Once the Hilltoppers got going, there was no stopping the train. 

WKU’s size completely towered over the Colonels, making it impossible for a comeback to happen, but on the bright side for the visitors, they were only outscored 42-34 in the second half.  

McKnight earned his triple-double after assisting Camron Justice on a layup with 3:29 left. 

“It feels good being a part of this history at WKU, it goes way back,” McKnight said. “So feeling like I stamped my name in some of the record books is an unreal moment.” 

WKU controlled the whole game and created many turnovers while keeping its own to a minimum. WKU finished with six turnovers compared to Centre’s 18. The Hilltoppers converted 24 points off those turnovers. They finished with 48 points in the paint, outscoring the Colonel’s 30-7 in fast break points and finished with 23 assists. 

WKU will prepare to take on another in-state opponent in the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. This will be the first time the Cardinals will walk into Diddle Arena since 2014. WKU lost 75-54 last year at the Yum! Center in Louisville. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m. 

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