WKU Hilltopper Basketball overcame a tough offensive first half Saturday at Charlotte, shooting better than 50 percent in the second half on its way to a 73-63 road victory. The Hilltoppers (13-5) improved to 5-0 in conference play for the fourth time since 1970 and the first time since 2014-15. They also won their fourth straight road game for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign and earned their first win at Charlotte in their last three tries. Redshirt junior guard Lamonte Bearden led the Hilltoppers with 19 points, while senior guard Darius Thompson added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Senior forward Dwight Coleby had his seventh double-double of the season with 10 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, and freshman guard Taveion Hollingsworth scored 10 points. Senior forward Justin Johnson finished with eight points and 14 rebounds. WKU fell behind 4-0 and didn’t score until the 16:32 mark, when Bearden started a 13-2 Hilltopper run with a three-point play. Bearden scored WKU’s first seven points of the game and helped the squad push to a 13-6 advantage at the 12:18 mark.
Both teams shot lower than 30 percent in the first half, but WKU got into halftime with a 28-20 advantage. The Hilltoppers scored 20 of those points in the paint without a single made 3-pointer. Thompson pushed the lead back to double digits with a layup and a 3 to start the second half, but Charlotte (5-14, 1-4) didn’t go away. The 49ers got back within four with 8:46 to play, but WKU iced the win with a 14-4 run. Coleby capped the spurt with a putback dunk to make it 63-49 with 3:12 left. WKU outrebounded Charlotte 46-38 and recorded nine steals. Jon Davis led the 49ers with 26 points.
The Hilltoppers return home to host UAB at 8 p.m. CTThursday at E.A. Diddle Arena. The game will be broadcast nationally by CBS Sports Network.