MIAMI, Fla. (WBKO) - WKU Hilltopper Basketball had six players in double figures Saturday, rounding out the regular season with a 91-85 road win at FIU.
The Hilltoppers (20-10 overall, 13-5 Conference USA) shot 54.2 percent from the field to secure the victory and the No. 2 seed in next week’s C-USA Tournament.
It also earned WKU the 46th 20-win season in program history. It was much-needed momentum for the Hilltoppers, who suffered a heartbreaking loss last week at North Texas with a potential regular-season title on the line.
“Everybody knows what we just came off of,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “For this team to get themselves back up off that mat, go on the road – a championship wasn’t at stake tonight, but we knew this. We’re still playing for second place in the league, we’re still playing for a 20-win season, but most importantly, as long as they keep score, you play to compete.”
Junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth led the Hilltoppers with 21 points and four assists, while redshirt junior forward Carson Williams turned in a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Graduate senior guard Camron Justice tallied 15 points, freshman guard Jordan Rawls added 14, and redshirt senior guard/forward Jared Savage had 11. Junior guard Josh Anderson finished with 10 points and eight boards.
WKU will play at 8:30 p.m. CT Thursday in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Its potential opponents are still to be determined Saturday night.
“All week, it was kind of a bounce-back game for us,” Justice said. “We just wanted to come down here and do what we needed to do, get our confidence back up and get to Frisco the best way possible.”
WKU shot 65.5 percent in the first half and took its largest lead at 30-21 on a lob dunk by Savage, but FIU went on an 18-7 run to go up 39-37 with 6:57 to play.
Savage scored again on a layup just before the half to tie it at 47-all.
The Hilltoppers went on a 7-0 run early in the second half and never trailed again.
With the lead down to one at 74-73 with 6:54 left, Justice scored seven straight points himself to provide some separation.
WKU made 18 of 20 free throws in the game, including 16 of 17 in the second half.
Trejon Jacob had 18 points to pace FIU (18-13, 9-9).
The Hilltoppers had six players in double figures for the first time since Jan. 25 against Marshall.
“I feel like this builds everybody’s confidence,” Hollingsworth said. “Everybody’s scoring, everybody feels good, so it should be a big confidence boost.”