Hilltoppers Close Exhibition Play with 88-59 Victory Over Cumberlands

WKU(Mohammad Ahmad)
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 11:18 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Nine players found the scoring column Friday as WKU Hilltopper Basketball wrapped up preseason play with an 88-59 exhibition win over the University of the Cumberlands at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“We play these games to get better,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “There’s no question tonight we were better in some areas against a better team. We’ve got to keep getting better because there’s no more of these. From here on out, they’re real.”

Senior forward Jairus Hamilton again set the tone for the Hilltoppers with 22 points and 11 rebounds, including a 4-for-6 effort from 3-point range.

Sophomore guard Dayvion McKnight was one rebound shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 11 assists and nine boards. Redshirt senior forward Jaylen Butz added 12 points and nine rebounds, and fifth-year senior guard Josh Anderson scored 10 points with five steals.

“Every day we come to work,” Butz said. “It takes a lot of time with a team full of new guys. We’re just trying to figure each other out and continue to grow each day. I think it’s going in a great direction. We continue to work and we just continue listen to coach through these few weeks we’ve had. It’s been great to get out here and finally see another opponent and put things to use that we’ve been doing.”

WKU opened the game with a 12-0 run, but Cumberlands made eight 3-pointers in the first half to stay in the mix.

The Hilltoppers extended that advantage to 41-32 at halftime, and they took control for good with a 17-0 burst in the second half.

WKU shot 52.2% from the field and made 11 3-pointers, while also outscoring Cumberlands 42-10 in the paint. It also won the rebounding battle 48-35.

The Patriots shot just 29.2% for the game. J.J. Ramey paced Cumberlands with 16 points off the bench.

WKU stays at home to open the regular season against Alabama State at 7 p.m. CT Tuesday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“Being back in Diddle in front of the crowd, it’s a great feeling,” McKnight said. “It’s my first time playing in front of Diddle with a crowd. I like it when Josh gets a steal, breakaway dunk, this crowd goes crazy and I love it.”

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