WKU Men’s Basketball: Hilltoppers pick up close 73-67 road win at UAB

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — WKU Hilltopper Basketball headed into March on a positive note, rallying for a gutsy 73-67 road win at UAB on Thursday.

The Hilltoppers (17-12 overall, 10-6 Conference USA) trailed 36-31 at halftime, but came to life in the last 10 minutes of the game.

WKU used an 8-0 run to pull in front 60-57 with 5:42 left and never trailed again. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Tops at UAB’s Bartow Arena.

“This time of year, somewhere along the way you’ve got to get another level of urgency about you,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “That urgency comes with another level of toughness. No question about it, I thought the last 10 minutes of the game, our guys showed another level of toughness.”

Freshman center Charles Bassey paced WKU with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth poured in 17 points – including 15 in the second half.

Sophomore guard Josh Anderson and redshirt junior guard/forward Jared Savage tallied 13 and 12 points, respectively. Savage added seven rebounds and three assists.

UAB (17-12, 9-7) led most of the first half, but WKU moved back in front with a late 8-0 run. Savage’s 3-pointer at the 2:54 mark gave the Hilltoppers a 31-30 advantage.

The Blazers scored the final six points of the frame to claim a 36-31 halftime lead.

WKU struggled to get over the hump until its pivotal 8-0 run in the second half, which Anderson capped with a three-point play to make it 60-57 with 5:42 remaining.

Hollingsworth broke a 62-all tie with a transition 3-pointer, and the Hilltoppers led the rest of the way. They made 23 of 29 free throws in the game.

“We started playing together, and we started playing defense,” Hollingsworth said. “We were letting them score easily. We had to sit down, and they were getting offensive rebounds. That creates a lot for their team when they get offensive rebounds, so we had to talk It out with Coach, and we started playing defense and getting rebounds.”

Lewis Sullivan paced the Blazers with 16 points.

The Hilltoppers will play their final two Bonus Play games at home, starting against Southern Miss at 2 p.m. CT Sunday at E.A. Diddle Arena. The game will stream on Stadium on Facebook.

“It’s big,” Anderson said. “We’re going to come in, go back to the crib for these two games. We need to lock in and get the W.”