WKU ends five game losing streak after beating UTSA 74-64

WKU snaps five game losing streak, beating UTSA 74-64
Published: Jan. 7, 2023 at 8:30 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The WKU Hilltoppers (9-6, 1-3 C-USA) picked up its first conference win after going on the road and beating UTSA 74-64, ending the five game losing streak. WKU never trailed in the game.

“They immediately made a run early in the second half and that game is either going to go one way or the other,” said interim head coach Phil Cunningham. Cunningham has served as interim HC for the last four games in head coach Rick Stansbury’s absence. “They cut it to eight, they cut it to six and that could’ve been the game. Or we hold off that run, and that’s what we did.”

Head coach Rick Stansbury is still out due to health issues.

Four Hilltoppers were in double figures in the points column. Akot led all scorers with 16 points, six rebounds and two assists. Jamarion Sharp logged a double-double of 11 points, 12 boards, and six blocks. Luke Frampton had 12 total points with three assists, three steals. McKnight finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.

John Buggs III led UTSA in scoring with 15 points.

The Hilltoppers opened up the game on a 9-2 run. The Roadrunners displayed some fight, cutting WKU’s lead to just 18-17 by the 8:37 mark. Following a 3-point play at that timestamp by Jacob Germany, the Tops would hold UTSA to just one bucket the rest of the period.

Jamarion Sharp kickstarted what would result in a 20-3 run for WKU to close out the half. Emmanuel Akot followed it up with a layup and a pair of free throws before Luke Frampton and Jairus Hamilton each sunk a 3-pointer.

By the end of the half, all five starters had contributed at least two points to the stellar run, creating a 38-20 lead at the break.

Out of halftime, UTSA (7-9, 1-4 C-USA) scored first with back-to-back 3′s. While that could’ve easily changed the momentum of the game, the Hilltoppers kept their cool, responding with a 11-4 run.

It was a back-and-forth half until UTSA’s Josh Farmer scored six straight points over the course of three minutes. It contributed to a larger overall Roadrunner run of 11-4, cutting WKU’s lead to 58-48 with just under eight minutes remaining.

The Tops once again had an answer with six points between Tyrone Marshall, Akot and Sharp. UTSA was able to come within six as the game approached the two-minute mark, but Akot shut down the Roadrunners with a major 3-pointer off the wing, icing the game.

WKU forced 17 Roadrunner turnovers, scoring 25 points off of said turnovers. The Tops also outrebounded UTSA 39-34 and logged 16 assists on 26 buckets.

The Hilltoppers will stay on the road in league play with a game at UAB on Wednesday night. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. CT.