Hilltoppers blowout Old Dominion to sweep weekend road trip


Tucker Covey

Senior guard Josh Anderson after getting knocked down on Saturday, Jan., 29. WKU lost 93-85.

Kaden Gaylord-Day, Men's Basketball Reporter

WKU Basketball (12-11, 4-6 C-USA) handled Old Dominion 77-60 (9-13, 4-5 C-USA) after only playing five guys for most of the second half, winning its second straight road game. 

“When you get hit in the mouth a few times that’s when you have to be at your best,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “It’s easy then to do things that’s not in character, our guys didn’t do that. We followed the course, kept battling and going on the road and winning in these two places is never easy.”

WKU graduate Camron Justice led with 18 points. Senior Luke Frampton scored 14 points before going down with a knee injury, while junior Jamarion Sharp had 11 points and five blocks, setting a new program record with 98 blocks on the season, breaking Chris Marcus’ record that was set in 1997 and 2001. 

Unlike the game against Charlotte, WKU got off to a slow start. The Hilltoppers went 1-of-8 from behind the arc in Norfolk against an Old Dominion team that’s been gaining momentum with a few conference wins in a row. 

Sharp picked up his second foul with 14:52 left in the first-half, putting a huge caution sign on him and taking him out of the game for a little while. ODU in turn became more confident in attacking the paint and getting more rebounds with WKU’s tallest guy on the court being 6 feet, 8 inches tall. 

There wasn’t enough production on the court with Sharp out. The Hilltoppers only had 15 points with just under eight minutes to go in the first half, forcing Stansbury to put Sharp back in. Luckily for the Hilltoppers, the Monarchs’ offense wasn’t doing much either, keeping the score within five. 

Sharp’s presence on the floor allowed WKU to get the fast-break offense going and forced defenders to help, leading to easy scores at the basket and back-to-back three pointers from Frampton to give WKU the lead with a five-point advantage, capping off a 12-2 run.

Frampton kept the hot shooting going after starting out 0-for-3. He hit his next four three pointers in a span of a few minutes to help WKU build a seven-point lead at the break. Old Dominion only scored six points in the last six minutes of the first half. 

Both teams came out sluggish in the second half. Frampton went down with a knee injury and didn’t return for the rest of the game. The Hiltoppers, only playing five guys for the rest of the game, had to find where the offense would come from and they got it from Justice who stepped up. 

It was WKU’s defensive effort that really made the difference, playing 2-3 and a 1-3-1 zone that threw the Monarchs off their game. A combination of scoring from sophomore Dayvion McKnight and Justice, with the defensive presence of Sharp, allowed the Hilltoppers to keep a double-digit lead despite being depleted in depth to help pull out the win. 

“[We had] good ball movement on and off the ball,” McKnight said. “We just took our time, we were patient with it.” 

WKU shot 43% from behind the arc while holding Old Dominion to 29%. The Hilltoppers only committed six fouls in the game while creating 13 on the Monarchs. WKU turned the ball over only six times, one of its best performances of the season while creating 10. 

“It feels good winning again [by] double digits,” McKnight said. “We needed these two road wins. What [does] this means for us? We’re back. Back on the winning train, playing our best basketball.”

WKU will return for a quick pit stop at home before heading on the road again. Florida Atlantic will be in Diddle Arena for its second matchup against the Hilltoppers. The contest is set for Thursday night at 7 p.m. 

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