Coach Stansbury returns for WKU v.s. FIU


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.

Cole McIntire

WKU Men’s Basketball (11-10, 3-7 C-USA) was defeated by the Florida International Panthers (10-11, 4-6 C-USA) 78-69 on Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. 

WKU continued a four game skid. The headline of the night was the return of WKU head coach Rick Stansbury. Stansbury’s last game was against the University of South Carolina on Dec. 22. The Hilltoppers were 3-6 in the coach’s absence. 

Leading Conference USA scorer, sophomore guard Denver Jones was held to 17 points by WKU. The Hilltoppers leading scorer was junior guard Dayvion McKnight, leading the squad scoring 23 points. 

McKnight was 9-17 from the field and created three steals for his team. Senior center Jamrion Sharp posted 15 points and six rebounds. 

The Panthers were efficient in scoring points off the Hilltoppers’ 17 turnovers, tallying 27 points. A bright spot for the Hilltoppers was their dominance in the paint. They out-rebounded FIU 36-25 and created 12 second chance points.  

FIU outshot WKU in both field-goal percentage and three-point percentage. The Panthers boasted a 52.5% field-goal percentage and a 40.0% three-point percentage. The Hilltoppers were held to shooting 42.4% from the field and 31.8% from behind the arc. 

The first half was closely contested. The Hilltoppers opened the game with a 13-6 lead. Then a 8-0 run later in the first half catapulted the Hilltoppers to a 26-16 lead. However, FIU came crawling back. The score at the end of the first would be 36-34.

The game defining moment came in the second half. FIU went on a rampant 22-4 run in the middle of the second half. The Hilltoppers only shot 1-7 (14.3%) from the three-point line. In comparison the Panthers shot 6-13 (46.2%) from three. The Hilltoppers battled to the finish but it wouldn’t be enough as they would come up short for the seventh time in conference play this season.

The Hilltoppers will travel to Boca Raton, Florida, to play Florida Atlantic University on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. CT.