Tops Take Down Falcons in Opening Exhibition

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Hilltopper Basketball took down the Montevallo Falcons in an exhibition game inside E.A. Diddle Arena on Wednesday night, winning the game 93-65. The Hilltoppers had four players in double-figures while all 15 saw action on the court.

“With us, you know, a lot of details we have to continue to get better at,” said head coach Rick Stansbury on the night. “But overall, I thought we played hard. That’s the key, we played hard. I didn’t have one guy that I felt like didn’t play hard. Does that mean he’s great and doesn’t make mistakes? No, but we can correct those things.”

WKU started the game with eight straight points, the first five coming from the hands of Emmanuel Akot. The Winnipeg, Canada, native knocked down a 3 at 19:15 and followed it up with a dunk just 19 seconds later. Jairus Hamilton tacked on another three points and the Hilltoppers were out to an 8-0 lead just 2:15 into the game.

The Hilltoppers used 10-2 run, with four different scorers, to extend their lead to 20-10 by the 12:28 mark. WKU went out to close out the half with a 12-2 run, bringing the halftime score to 47-30.

Montevallo opened the second half hot with back-to-back 3’s and an additional basket to close the gap from a halftime score of 47-30 to 47-38. The Hilltoppers responded with a pair of back-to-back 3’s of their own, one from Hamilton and another from Luke Frampton, to push the lead back up to 53-38.

Following the Falcons initial hot streak, WKU held Montevallo without a field goal for more than five minutes. Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers extended the lead to 66-45 at the 9:52 mark with a pair of free throws from Dayvion McKnight.

WKU eventually made its lead as much as 29 points after Dontaie Allen sunk a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left on the clock.

14 of WKU’s 15 players put points on the board. The Tops logged assists on 18 of their 33 field goals while shooting 40.7% from the 3-point line.

“We got guys that can really shoot the ball,” said Hamilton on the improved 3-point shooting. “I think that was one thing we really keyed on in the offseason. Coach (Stansbury) went out and did what he did and it’s showing out there right now, we just got to keep it up.”

Hamilton flirted with a double-double after scoring 14 points and pulling down nine boards. Three other Hilltoppers joined him in double-figure scoring: McKnight, Akot and Fallou Diagne.

JUCO transfer Tyrone Marshall made his debut in a Hilltopper jersey by shooting 4 of 6 from the field, knocking down one 3-pointer and gathering six rebounds.

“I love defense,” said Marshall. “You know I love rebounding. I just love doing things that some players wouldn’t want to do like get on the ground and dive for the ball out of bounds. I want to guard that guy who they say is their best guy.”

Te Smith of led the Falcons with 13 points and six rebounds, shooting 3 of 9 from beyond the arc.

WKU has one more exhibition on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT inside E.A. Diddle Arena against the top-ranked NAIA Georgetown College Tigers.