Cold Outside Shooting Slows Down Hilltoppers in 65-60 Loss to North Texas

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball struggled mightily with its outside shooting Saturday afternoon, falling 65-60 to North Texas at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Hilltoppers (10-7, 2-2 Conference USA) went 2-for-12 from the 3-point line and didn’t make one until there was 3:10 left in the game, putting their streak of 1,085 games with a made 3 – the fourth-longest active streak in the nation – in jeopardy.

On the other side, North Texas (11-4, 4-1) was efficient with its methodical pace, netting 10 of 23 3-pointers and outscoring the Tops 21-2 off the bench.

“Give North Texas credit,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “They played well. You can look at these stats and we can talk about a lot of different things, but you can start with one stat. They made a lot of big, timely 3s. They made 10, which is almost half of their points. … 10 3s to basically none for us. When the game was in the balance, we didn’t make any shots. And you guys know this, our team is put together, we’ve got to make some shots.”

WKU led 24-23 with 6:17 left in the first half after a jumper by sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight, but North Texas rattled off six straight points to reclaim a 29-24 advantage.

UNT’s Tylor Perry sank a 3 just before the buzzer to push the lead to 37-30.

The closest the Hilltoppers got the rest of the way was the final margin, with a 3-pointer not falling until graduate senior guard Camron Justice got one to go at the 3:10 mark.

“You’ve got to give it to them, they’re a good team,” McKnight said. “Defensively, like you said, they were in gaps, they had good on-ball pressure so it was hard to get open shots and knock them down.”

McKnight led all scorers with 23 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals, and junior center Jamarion Sharp added 13 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.

Thomas Bell led North Texas with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Hilltoppers head back on the road next week for two games in the Sunshine State, starting at Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m. CT Thursday. The game will air nationally on CBS Sports Network.