Playing with just seven Hilltoppers in uniform and six scholarship players, WKU Hilltopper Basketball used a second-half surge to close nonconference play with a 72-55 win at Austin Peay on Friday night.
After falling behind 39-32 early in the second half, WKU (8-5) went on a 17-3 run in less than four minutes to power ahead 49-42 at the 14:27 mark.
Austin Peay (5-7) closed the gap to one with 12:24 to play, but the Hilltoppers used another 17-4 run to ice the victory – their first true road win of the season.
WKU has won nine straight games against the Governors dating back to 2001.
Senior guard Darius Thompson had a stellar outing in a full 40 minutes, registering 21 points, seven assists, six steals and six rebounds with no turnovers.
Freshman guard Taveion Hollingsworth finished with 20 points, while redshirt junior guard Lamonte Bearden added 14 points, six assists and two steals.
Senior forwards Justin Johnson and Dwight Coleby each had eight points and eight rebounds.
WKU shot 58.8 percent from the field, outscored Austin Peay 46-23 in the paint and registered a season-high 13 steals. The Hilltoppers were playing without freshman guard Jake Ohmer, who suffered a concussion late in the game against Belmont on Tuesday.
WKU scored the first nine points of the game and eventually led 13-2 before Austin Peay knocked down three straight 3-pointers.
The Hilltoppers’ advantage stood at 24-17 with 7:41 to play in the half until Austin Peay broke open a 10-2 run and claimed its first lead at 27-26 with 3:24 remaining in the half.
A putback by Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor gave the Governors a 32-30 lead at the break.
But it was the Hilltoppers who were in control in the second half, shooting 60.7 percent after the break against Austin Peay’s 28.6 percent.
Ed Stephens paced Austin Peay with 13 points.
The Hilltoppers will open Conference USA play at home against LA Tech at 7 p.m. CT Thursday at E.A. Diddle Arena.
How to follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Basketball, follow the team’s social media channels, @WKUBasketball on Twitter, @WKUBasketball on Instagram, and WKU Basketball on Facebook.
Head Coach Rick Stansbury
Senior guard Darius Thompson
Redshirt junior guard Lamonte Bearden
WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations
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