49ers take down Tops in overtime

Published: Jan. 2, 2021 at 6:36 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Just like Friday’s meeting, Western Kentucky and Charlotte came down to the wire, this time the 49ers taking a 75-71 overtime win against the Tops.

“Give Charlotte credit, they found ways to make another play to win the game,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “We had opportunities despite turning the ball over.”

Turnovers plagued the Tops against the 49ers, committing 21. WKU averaged just 13 a game coming into the series against Charlotte.

“We’ve been pretty good in tight games up to this point,” Stansbury said. “We’ve won most close games. But tonight we didn’t find a way to close it out.”

WKU trailed 36-30 at halftime but the second half was a back and forth battle.

Sophomore guard Jordan Rawls would sink a 3-pointer to give the Tops a 52-51 lead with 7:28 left in the game.

Senior guard Josh Anderson would foul out of the game with less than five minutes remaining. He finished with 10 points, two rebounds, and two steals for WKU.

“That hurt us,” Stansbury said. “Not having Josh down that stretch basically the last four minutes of regulation and five minutes overtime hurt us.”

WKU would lead by seven with 4:00 remaining after a pair of free throws by senior guard Taveion Hollingsworth. However, a pair of turnovers in the final minutes would help the 49ers comeback and force overtime.

“When you go up seven, you got to win the game right there,” Stansbury said.

In overtime, the Tops, and 49ers traded shots until a pair of free throws but Charlotte’s Jahmir Young put the 49ers up for good. Young finished with 24 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.

After only scoring two points in the first, Hollingsworth finished with 23 points, six rebounds, and three assists.

WKU (8-3, 1-1 in C-USA) with host Louisiana Tech in a two-game series at E.A. Diddle Arena beginning Friday, January 8.

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