WKU Men’s Basketball: Hilltoppers use shutdown defense to breeze past North Texas 67-51

FRISCO, Texas – Taveion Hollingsworth poured in 23 points and WKU led for all but the first 1:01 of the game en route to a 67-51 win over North Texas, in a quarterfinal contest at the 2019 Air Force Reserve C-USA Men’s Basketball Championship presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star in Frisco.  The No. 2 seed Hilltoppers (19-13) advance to face Southern Miss at 3 pm CT on Friday.

WKU seized control of the game late in the first half, holding the Mean Green scoreless for the final 3:59 to carry a 31-16 lead to the break.  The Hilltoppers would extend that lead to 20 early in the second half and North Texas was never able to make a run to get closer than 12 points

Hollingsworth led WKU in scoring for the 10th time this season, hitting 9-of-15 from the field with a pair of three-pointers. 

Josh Anderson was the only other Hilltopper to hit double-figures, finishing with 13 points and adding seven rebounds.  

Charles Bassey contributed nine points and seven rebounds, while blocking four shots.  That was his eighth game this season with at least four blocks.  As a team, WKU’s eight blocked shots were one shy of season high. 

But, blocking shots wasn’t the only way that the Toppers flexed their defensive muscles in this one.  They held UNT to 5-of-27 (.186) shooting from three-point field goal range and 18-of-60 overall (.300).

Ryan Woolridge led the Mean Green (21-12) in scoring with 13 points, while Jordan Duffy scored 11 and grabbed seven boards.  Zachary Simmons scored eight and pulled down 13 rebounds, giving him 29 boards in his two games at the C-USA Championship.

NOTES:

*WKU will play in the semifinals of the C-USA Championship for the third time in four seasons.  The Hilltoppers will be seeking a second straight appearance in the title game.

*WKU held North Texas to 51 points after allowing just 59 points in the regular season meeting in Denton on Feb. 9.  The Mean Green were averaging 70.2 points coming into the game.

*Friday will mark the third meeting this season between WKU and Southern Miss.  The Hilltoppers have won the first two, by a 66-63 score on Jan. 24 in Hattiesburg and a 76-71 score in Bowling Green on Mar. 3.