WKU Men’s Basketball takes down UTEP


Tucker Covey

Redshirt junior shooting guard Dontaie Allen (11) shoots a three-pointer during the matchup with UTEP in E.A. Diddle Arena on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2023. Allen shot five for eight on three-pointers and eight for fifteen on field goals for a total of 25 points in 34 minutes of play. WKU won 74-69.

Jake McMahon

WKU Men’s Basketball (13-11, CUSA 5-8 ) took down the UTEP Miners (11-12, CUSA 4-8) 74-69 Saturday, Feb. 4 at E.A. Diddle Arena. 

During half-time of the game, WKU Basketball legend Dwight Smith’s jersey was retired by the program. Smith was a major piece in three of the most historic teams to ever play basketball on the hill. 

Smith’s squads went to two NCAA tournaments in 1966 and 1967 as well as an appearance in the NIT in 1964. Smith averaged 14.6 points and 11 rebounds a game at WKU making him one of nine players to average a double-double in their career as a Hilltopper. Smith, along with teammate Clem Haskins, were also the first to integrate the WKU Basketball program. 

During the game, Red-shirt junior guard Dontaie Allen continued his outstanding play from Thursday night. Allen finished his second start as a Hilltopper with 25 points and seven rebounds. The guard went an impressive 5-8 from three and 53% from the field. 

“It comes down to rhythm with the game of basketball,” Allen said. ” I’ve got into a rhythm and I feel good about it.”

Junior guard Dayvion Mcknight played well against the Miners. Mcknight finished the game with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. 

Both teams stayed close to start the game. A Jamarion Sharp slam made it 8-6 in favor of UTEP at the first media timeout. 

UTEP started to find their stride on offense out of the break. An 8-0 Miner run put UTEP 16-6 with 12 minutes to go. However, the Hilltoppers would not let the early deficit bother them. WKU went on a nice 10-4 run to cut the UTEP lead down to four, 20-16. 

Both squads stayed tight throughout the rest of the half. UTEP was able to widen their lead to 8, 34-26, but seven quick points from Dontaie Allen helped cut the deficit to four at half, 37-33. 

WKU came out of the locker room hot. The Hilltoppers opened up the second half on a four minute, 9-5 run to tie it up at 42. WKU would continue to dominate the half early. A 9-0 Hilltopper run forced a UTEP timeout as WKU took a 51-42 lead. 

Astounding play from Dontaie Allen continued to widen the WKU lead late.  A 12-8 stretch for WKU, including eight points from Allen, put the Hilltoppers up 67-56 with four minutes left. 

UTEP put in a valiant comeback effort late, but the Hilltoppers prevailed to take the win by five. 

WKU will look to continue their winning ways against rival Middle Tennessee State University on Thursday, Feb. 9 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

Sports reporter Jake McMahon can be reached at [email protected] .