Explosive Offensive Night Fuels Tops’ 86-72 Win at Marshall
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball returned to its electric offense Wednesday night, routing rival Marshall for an 86-72 road victory.
The Hilltoppers (18-12, 10-7 Conference USA) moved one step closer to securing the No. 2 seed in the C-USA East Division and a bye to the C-USA Tournament quarterfinals. They can secure that position with a win Saturday in the home rematch with Marshall or a Florida Atlantic loss at FIU on Thursday.
“You look across the country on senior night and you’re going to ask how one team is going to beat another team, emotions are different,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “It’s the first of March, teams are tired. You had to play that emotion against road teams. Our guys, we’ve got some toughness, got some maturity. … You come down to the offensive end and you’ve got to score on the road, and that’s what we were able to do. We controlled the flow of the game.”
WKU shot 57.6% from the field and had four players in double figures, led by graduate senior guard Camron Justice’s career-high 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range. He added four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight scored 23 points with four assists, and fifth-year senior guard Josh Anderson chipped in 16 points and four steals as he tied the WKU record for career games played (141).
Junior center Jamarion Sharp tallied a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
“I’m just happy to be here and be in this position that we’re in,” Justice said. “There’s a lot of people counting us out right now, but the mentality in that locker room, in that coaching office and everything, thinks we have a chance to go out there and do this.”
The Hilltoppers pulled in front in the first half with a 9-0 run, then extended it with another 10-0 burst just before halftime that helped make it a 43-28 advantage at the break.
Marshall (11-19, 4-13) made a push in the second half with a 10-0 run that cut it to 54-47 with 12:43 left, but redshirt senior guard Luke Frampton ended the spurt with a 3-pointer in front of the Hilltopper bench.
WKU led by as much as 20 with 1:06 to go.
Taevion Kinsey paced the Thundering Herd with 24 points.
The Hilltoppers will finish the regular season Saturday with a home rematch against Marshall at 2 p.m. CT at E.A. Diddle Arena. The game will air on ESPN+.
“We’ve got to do what we did today,” Sharp said. “Come out with energy, focus and play together as a team.”