WKU hopes to continue win streak against Charlotte and Old Dominion

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Marshall C. Canupp

HIlltopper’s redshirt senior Luke Frampton (14) celebrates with the fans following their 76-69 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Feb. 10 in Diddle Arena.

Kaden Gaylord-Day, Men's Basketball Reporter

WKU Basketball (15-11, 7-6 C-USA) head coach Rick Stansbury, senior Luke Frampton and junior Jamarion Sharp met with the media Wednesday afternoon ahead of the Hilltoppers’ matchups against Charlotte (13-11, 6-6 C-USA) and Old Dominion (10-15, 5-7 C-USA). 

The two teams coming into Diddle Arena this weekend are the two teams WKU started its five-game win streak against two weeks ago. WKU beat Charlotte 78-59 in the first game.

“We know they’re a really good basketball team,” Stansbury said. “On that particular night we were really good on both ends of the court, so naturally we want to do the same thing. I’m sure they don’t want to do the same thing.

Graduate Camron Justice led the way for the Hilltoppers with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting with five rebounds. Senior Josh Anderson scored 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds and five steals. Jahmir Young led the 49ers with 17 points, three assists and three rebounds. 

WKU shot 56% (31-of-55) for the game while shooting 50% (9-of-18) from behind the arc. The Hilltoppers forced 13 turnovers, including seven steals, while only turning it over eight times. Charlotte shot 39% from the field and 26% from three-point land. 

Since then, the 49ers are 2-2. They beat Marshall and FIU but have lost the last two games against La Tech and Middle Tennessee. 

Young has scored a combined 44 points in the last two games for Charlotte. The 49ers’ offense starts with him, so the Hilltoppers will look to contain him. 

“I’m about as comfortable as you can be putting [McKnight] on somebody like that,”Stansbury said. “Does it mean you shut him down? No. But I’ll take his effort and his toughness most nights. At times we’ll switch Josh on him, give him a look with different size, so those two guys have been pretty good as of late.”

WKU and Charlotte are number one and two in the conference when it comes to field-goal percentage, so defense will be a big factor. Charlotte allows teams to shoot 46% per game, the worst in C-USA. 

On Saturday evening, Old Dominion comes into town after a pit stop at Marshall on Thursday. The last time the Monarchs and Hilltoppers played, WKU won 77-60 with only playing five guys for most of the second half.  

This was the first game WKU really switched up the zones on a team, playing a 2-3 and a 1-3-1 at different points in the game. WKU got off to a slow start, but it was the clutch shooting from three-point range and ball control that kept the Hilltoppers in firm control. 

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. 

ODU is coming off a big win against UAB heading into its matchup with Marshall. The Monarchs put up 81 points while they only average 66 per game. 

They rank near the bottom in almost every category, but boast one of the top-five defenses in the conference. ODU is one of the worst three-point shooting teams and one of the worst at defending the three. 

“Growing up, my dad always told me, ‘Shoot when you’re hot, shoot to get hot,’” Frampton said. “You don’t make any shots unless you take them. It’s really muscle memory at this point, thankfully they’re just going in.”

WKU will take on Charlotte Thursday night in Diddle Arena at 7 p.m. The Saturday contest against Old Dominion will also be at 7 p.m. The Charlotte matchup will be broadcast on the CBS Network and the Old Dominion game will be on ESPN+.

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