Hilltoppers drop first game of Cayman Islands Classic to Akron


Tucker Covey

WKU head coach Rick Stansbury hypes up the Hilltoppers ahead of their matchup with the University of Indianapolis in E.A. Diddle Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. WKU won 68-50.

Lynda Eernisse, Basketball reporter

WKU Basketball (3-1) lost to the University of Akron Zips (3-1) 72-53 in its opening matchup of the Cayman Islands Classic Monday afternoon in John Gray Gymnasium.

Before tipoff it was announced that redshirt junior Dontaie Allen, who transferred from the University of Kentucky to play for WKU this offseason, would not be playing due to an issue with his eligibility. 

Head coach Rick Stansbury started Dayvion McKnight, Emmanuel Akot, Luke Frampton, Jarius Hamilton and Jamarion Sharp to begin the team’s run in the tournament.

The Hilltoppers were able to grab the first couple points of the game, setting the score at 3-0. Shortly after, the Zips fought back and grabbed the lead which they then hung onto for the remainder of the night. 

Leading the Zips offense was sophomore Enrique Freeman, who put up an impressive 18 points in 36 minutes for his team. Freeman also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished three assists. 

On WKU’s side, the leader of the day was Akot, who had 13 points along with four rebounds and three assists. 

“Obviously we gotta be tougher and move the ball better,” Akot said after the loss.

Akron shot much better than WKU from the field. The Zips shot 56.3% compared to the Hilltoppers’ mark of 37%. 

“We were out of sorts,” Stansbury said. “It’s not the loss I’m disappointed in, it’s how we lost the game.” 

The Hilltoppers will have another chance to redeem themselves in the tournament, tomorrow against Illinois State at 10 a.m. CT.