Tops’ Season Comes to Close in Conference USA Quarterfinals – WKU Athletics

FRISCO, Texas — WKU Hilltopper Basketball’s season came to a close Thursday with a tight 59-57 loss to Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals in Frisco, Texas.

 

The Hilltoppers (19-13) pulled in front 57-54 with 3:47 left, but didn’t score again.

 

Louisiana Tech (23-9) got a floater in the lane to pull within one with 2:52 to go, and then Kenneth Lofton Jr. scored the go-ahead basket with 24 seconds left.

 

Lofton Jr. added a single free throw with four seconds to go, and WKU’s final heave at the buzzer was off the mark.

 

“You can chop it up a lot of ways, it’s hard to overcome against a good team,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We went 3-for-21 from the 3-point line. We’re a team that depends on making some 3s and we go 12-for-19 from the foul line. Those are two areas that you’ve got to overcome and you’re still in a one possession game, right there with however many seconds there were.”

 

Sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight led WKU with 20 points and seven rebounds.

 

Fifth-year senior guard Josh Anderson tallied 16 points, five rebounds and four steals in his final game in the Hilltopper uniform, while graduate senior guard Camron Justice added 15 points in his final college game.

 

Junior center Jamarion Sharp added four points, 10 rebounds and six blocks.

 

The Hilltoppers finished 3-for-21 from 3-point range but missed their first nine long-range shots, while Louisiana Tech made seven 3s before the break to build a lead as large as 14 at 31-17 with 6:03 left.

 

WKU came charging back by finishing the half on a 16-5 run, including a four-point play by Justice and another 3 with eight seconds to go that cut it to 36-33 at halftime.

 

The Hilltoppers took their first lead of the game at 50-49 on a transition 3 by Anderson with 9:37 to play.

 

Anderson’s steal and dunk put WKU up 56-54 with 4:25 remaining, and McKnight tacked on a free throw with 3:48 left, but that was where the Tops’ scoring ended.

 

“It’s just one of those things, they got off to a hot start,” Justice said. “I thought they were pretty prepared for what we were going to do. They passed the ball well, had some open shots, got hot early and then it was just one of those things that we had to get back into the game. Then we fought our way back into the game and it fell apart again at the end.”

 

Keaston Willis led Louisiana Tech with 17 points, while Lofton Jr. finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

  

Med Center Health

 

The 2021-22 WKU Basketball season is proudly presented by Med Center Health. Med Center Health has served Southcentral Kentucky for more than 90 years, and its system of care includes six acute care hospitals, a comprehensive network of physician practices and clinics, and hundreds of area physicians offering care in dozens of specialties. From emergency treatment to preventative care, Med Center Health is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the communities it serves. Learn more at medcenterhealth.org.