WKU Hilltopper Basketball went to overtime for the first time under head coach Rick Stansbury on Thursday night, but used 30 points from Taveion Hollingsworth and 37 made free throws to pull out a 102-94 road victory at North Texas.
Hollingsworth’s career-high 30 points were the most by a WKU freshman since at least 1986. That was just the start of a standout offensive night for the Hilltoppers (19-7 overall, 11-2 Conference USA).
WKU shot 63.8 percent from the field, its highest percentage overall since 2007 and its highest on the road since at least 1986.
The Hilltoppers also made 37 free throws – their most since at least 1986 – on 48 attempts, their most since 2010.
Hollingsworth and senior guard Darius Thompson each netted 14 free throws, which were the most by a WKU player since Jamal Crook made 14 in 2012.
Thompson finished with 28 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Hollingsworth added seven rebounds to his 30 points with 8-of-13 shooting from the field and a perfect 14-of-14 mark from the charity stripe.
Hollingsworth’s 14-for-14 clip from the line tied for the best in program history, matching Jim Dunn’s 14-for-14 effort against Tennessee Tech on Feb. 2, 1963.
Thompson’s 19 free throw attempts were the most by a WKU player since Tellis Frank also shot 19 against UNLV on Nov. 29, 1986.
WKU trailed 41-33 at halftime, but the Hilltoppers took control with a 21-3 run in the second half, including 13 straight points in one stretch.
Thompson’s free throw made it 62-50 WKU with 10:02 to play, and WKU still led 78-70 with two minutes to go.
But North Texas (14-12, 7-6) scored 10 of the last 12 points of regulation to force overtime, knotting it up at 80-80 on Ryan Woolridge’s 3-pointer in the final seconds.
WKU started overtime with a jumper by senior forward Justin Johnson and a 3 by Thompson, and the Tops were able to hold on by netting 6 of 7 shots and 9 of 10 free throws in the extra period.
WKU made 18 free throws after halftime and got a combined 38 points from Hollingsworth and Thompson after the break.
Johnson added 16 points and seven rebounds in a full 45 minutes, while senior forward Dwight Coleby had 13 points and nine rebounds coming off the bench following a knee injury.
Roosevelt Smart led North Texas with 22 points.
WKU completes its Texas road swing at Rice at 7 p.m. CT Saturday in Houston.
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WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations