WKU Men’s Basketball: Williams impresses in 85-45 exhibition win over Kentucky State

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. WKU Hilltopper Basketball dominated inside Saturday night and rolled to an 85-45 victory over Kentucky State in its opening exhibition at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Hilltoppers outrebounded Kentucky State 58-41 and won the points in the paint 56-24. They also tightened up defensively and held the Thorobreds to 27.3 percent from the floor.

“There’s some things we can take from this game – some good things and some things we’ve got to work on,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “It’s obvious I played a lot of guys and a lot of different lineups. The thing I liked in the second half about our team – we were up 22 at halftime, and it’s easy to come out and become selfish, not pass the ball as much and not play as hard, but we came out in the first eight minutes of the second half and went on a 26-8 run. I like that.”

Redshirt junior forward Carson Williams led WKU with 18 points and 10 rebounds (six offensive), including 13 straight for the Tops in a four-minute stretch in the second half.

Williams said it was a long time coming after sitting out last year as a transfer.

“It’s been over a year and a half since I’ve had someone to play against other than these guys in practice every day, so it was nice to go up against somebody else,” Williams said. “It felt great to be back on the court.”

Sophomore center Charles Bassey also had a double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Junior guard Josh Anderson added 14 points and three steals off the bench, and redshirt senior guard/forward Jared Savage tallied nine points and 14 boards.

Graduate senior guard Camron Justice chipped in 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists, and junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth had five points, six rebounds and five assists. Freshman guard Jordan Rawls added eight points and three assists.

The Hilltoppers went on a 21-5 run midway through the first half that turned a 7-7 tied game into a 28-12 lead with 5:53 left before the break.

WKU held Kentucky State scoreless for the final 5:36 of the half and ended the frame on a 9-0 run to open a 37-15 advantage.

The Thorobreds remained scoreless for another three-plus minutes, but that was right around the time Williams began his surge.

WKU shot 47.5 percent from the field in the second half and 42.7 percent overall.

The Tops improved to 61-4 all-time in exhibition games with their 29th straight preseason victory.

“Everybody got their first-game jitters out of them,” Savage said. “The new guys got their feet wet, so I think we’re ready going into Tuesday.”

WKU opens the regular season at home against Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday at Diddle Arena.