Hilltoppers Fall 68-60 To UAB In Tough Offensive Outing

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- A rough shooting day for WKU Hilltopper Basketball led to a 68-60 home loss to UAB on Saturday at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The Hilltoppers (16-11, 9-5 Conference USA) got 23 points and 10 rebounds from freshman center Charles Bassey, but they shot just 37.5 percent from the field and netted just 6 of 27 3-pointers.

The loss snapped WKU’s five-game winning streak, although the program has still won eight of its last 10 outings.

“We go 6-for-27 from the 3-point line and about four of those were in that second half when you know we were just trying to scramble and get back in that game,” said Talvis Franklin, assistant coach and director of basketball operations. “I felt like for the better part of this game, there wasn’t a real answer for them going inside to Charles and even when we drove the basketball to the rim, we got good success on that, so I felt like we probably should’ve done a little bit more of that. Maybe the zone kind of, when people go zone you tend to settle for a few jump shots, but I just never felt like we got into a rhythm offensively today, even from the start of it just getting going and driving and doing the things that we do.

“We went away from the game plan, got away from that game plan and played a little bit and settled for jump shots.”

WKU missed all 12 of its 3-point attempts in the first half and hit four of its six long-range shots in the final two minutes, when it trailed by 15 points.

In spite of the sluggish start, the Hilltoppers trailed just 28-23 at halftime.

WKU fell down 18-10, but went on an 11-2 run to pull in front 21-20 on a basket by Bassey with 3:28 left in the half.

Redshirt junior guard/forward Jared Savage hit WKU’s first 3 at the 15:54 mark of the second half, and then freshman forward Tolu Smith’s basket trimmed the Blazers’ lead to one at 33-32.

UAB answered with an 8-0 burst to stretch out the lead, and the Hilltoppers came no closer than five the rest of the way.

WKU turned the ball over just eight times, but got outscored 14-4 on second-chance points and was outscored by eight at the free-throw line.

“I feel like in the first half we just shot too many jumpers,” sophomore guard Josh Anderson said. “Just taking what they gave us and not being aggressive and not playing our game. … Just taking too many jump shots in the first half, that really hurt us.”

Bassey made 10 of 13 field goals for his 13th double-double of the season, while also blocking three shots. Anderson was the only other Hilltopper in double figures with 15 points.

Redshirt senior guard Lamonte Bearden, sophomore guard Taveion Hollingsworth and Anderson all recorded at least four assists.

Zack Bryant led UAB with 24 points.

The Hilltoppers now await their slate for Bonus Play, C-USA’s new scheduling model for the final four games of the regular season. Those games, which will include two home games and two road games, will be announced later Saturday night.

“We’ve just got to remember what we’re good at and what we’re not good at,” Bassey said. “We lost the game so we’ve just got to go back to practice and work on what we didn’t do well today and just get back in this game and do what we can do.”

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