Western Kentucky Hilltoppers News, Rumors, Injuries & Recruiting
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BG Daily News: Hilltoppers' Sanford named C-USA Player of Year
Western Kentucky baseball junior Jake Sanford was named 2019 Conference USA Player of the Year, the league announced Tuesday afternoon.
Votes were compiled from each head coach and sports information director, as well as one designated media voter from each market.
The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, native becomes the eighth conference player of the year in program history, and first in 15 seasons. The Hilltoppers have had four conference pitchers of the year, all coming in the Sun Belt.
All-Time WKU Baseball Players of the Year
Sanford is the second Hilltopper to earn conference newcomer of the year, joining outfielder Chad Cregar in the Sun Belt 2008.
WKU Herald: WKU baseball
On Wednesday, WKU will play its first Conference USA tournament game since joining the league in 2015.
The Hilltoppers will be facing the Old Dominion Monarchs, who they just faced in their last series of the regular season.
Before the series, the Hilltoppers were in position to be the three seed, but them losing two out of the three games bumped them down to fourth while the monarchs moved up to fifth place.
"It's sickening how it ended, but we're feeling really confident about next week in Biloxi. We know that today's just one more game and the games that really matter start Wednesday," junior designated hitter Richard Constantine said after the game on Saturday.
BG Daily News: Bassey still 'evaluating my options' during NBA draft process
Dewan Hernandez, right, of Miami, and Charles Bassey, of Western Kentucky, battle for a ball on the first day of the NBA draft basketball combine in Chicago, Thursday, May 16, 2019.Nam Y. Huh/AP
Charles Bassey thinks he's good enough to play professional basketball at the highest level.
But the Western Kentucky center said he's still "evaluating my options" when it comes to his future.
Bassey spoke Thursday at the NBA draft combine in Chicago, where he's working out this week along with other pro prospects.
The Lagos, Nigeria, native has until May 29 to decide if he'll stay in the 2019 NBA Draft - which takes place June 20 - or return to WKU for his sophomore season.
BG Daily News: Tops to open 2019 Paradise Jam against Bowling Green
The Hilltoppers will face Bowling Green at 8 p.m. CT Nov. 22 in the first round of the 20th annual event. All games will be played at the University of the Virgin Islands' Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas and will stream online at FloHoops.com.
The eight-team event is a single-elimination bracket with each team playing three games.
Losing teams will compete in their second game Nov. 23. Winning teams will have a one-day break before the semifinals Nov. 24. All teams will return to the UVI Sports and Fitness Center on Nov. 25 for the final days of competition.
BG Daily News: Hilltoppers clinch berth in 2019 Conference USA Baseball Tournament
For the first time since joining the league prior to the 2015 season, Western Kentucky baseball has clinched a berth in the Conference USA Tournament.
The eight-team, double-elimination championship will take place May 22-26, as MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss., hosts the event for the third consecutive year.
It'll mark WKU's first appearance in a league tourney since 2014, when it competed in the Sun Belt Conference.
Standing at 15-9-1 in C-USA play thus far and with 30 total games scheduled in the league's regular season, the Hilltoppers are guaranteed to finish above Alabama-Birmingham (9-17), Florida International (10-16), Charlotte (10-15-1) and Middle Tennessee (11-15).
BG Daily News: Hilltoppers knocked out of C-USA tourney in 1-0 shutout
Western Kentucky's offense came up empty Wednesday night with its postseason hopes on the line.
Middle Tennessee pitcher Kailey Ahlstrom shut out the Hilltoppers over seven innings, and her Blue Raiders beat WKU 1-0 in a Conference USA Tournament elimination game in Birmingham, Ala.
No. 6 seed MTSU (29-26) clinched a spot in the double-elimination portion of the bracket, set to begin Thursday. The No. 3 seed Toppers (37-13) failed to win a game at the conference tourney for the first time in their fourth trip to the event.
WKU went 18-6 in C-USA regular-season play and won an outright East Division title.
WKU Herald: Charles Bassey invited to 2019 NBA Draft Combine
WKU basketball center Charles Bassey has officially received an invitation to participate in the 2019 NBA Draft Combine next week.
The NBA released a list of the 66 players invited to the event Wednesday afternoon, and Bassey was among the 24 college freshmen that got an invitation to showcase their skills to pro scouts.
The Nigeria native starred in his freshman season on the Hill. Bassey averaged 14.6 points, 10 rebounds and 2.4 blocks a game. He showed up in the biggest matchups throughout the season, averaging 17.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.4 steals against notable stars like Ethan Happ, Daniel Gafford, Tacko Fall, Sagaba Konate and Noah Dickerson.
BG Daily News: Hilltoppers take UTSA series with doubleheader sweep
Aikey matched a season-high in strikeouts in Game 1 and Kennedy Sullivan earned the save in the second game to give WKU a doubleheader sweep over Texas-San Antonio.
Aikey threw 13 strikeouts in an 8-1 victory to start the day, then Shelby Nunn and Sullivan combined to earn WKU a 4-3 victory to take the series over UTSA. The Hilltoppers (36-12 overall, 17-6 Conference USA) can earn the C-USA East Division title with a win over the Roadrunners (20-29, 8-16) in Sunday's regular season finale at 1 p.m.
WKU entered the weekend with a one-game lead in the division over Marshall, which won two games in its series with Florida Atlantic on Saturday.
BG Daily News: Hilltoppers overcome pair of 3-0 deficits, sweep Rice in doubleheader
3-0 turned out to be the magic deficit Friday for Western Kentucky on both ends of a doubleheader.
The Hilltoppers spotted visiting Rice 3-0 leads in both contests before coming back and winning 6-3 and 9-5 over two games at Nick Denes Field.
WKU (22-22-1 overall, 13-9-1 Conference USA) clinched a series victory over the Owls (21-26, 12-11), who entered the day a half-game ahead of the Toppers in the C-USA standings.
Coach John Pawlowski's WKU squad pushed its way into third place in Conference USA, passing both Rice and Louisiana Tech (28-18, 12-10) in the league table.
BG Daily News: Early lead doesn't hold as Hilltoppers drop finale to Louisiana Tech
Western Kentucky softball took its first lead of a series against Louisiana Tech early Sunday but a rally by the Lady Techsters resulted in a 7-1 win for the home team.
The Hilltoppers (33-12 overall, 15-6 Conference USA) were swept in a conference series for the first time this season.
WKU entered the weekend with a four-game lead on second-place Marshall in the C-USA East Division. The Toppers' lead over the Thundering Herd (31-17, 14-7) is now down to one game with three league contests to play.
Scoreless into the third inning, Morgan McElroy led of the frame with a double down the left-field line.
WKU Herald: Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball joins Hilltoppers
WKU has announced the signing of graduate transfer guard Camron Justice from IUPUI, where he played following a stint at Vanderbilt.
Justice finished third in the Horizon League in scoring last season. He averaged 18.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Jaguars last season.
"We're really excited to have Cam join our family," WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. "He fills a great need with his outstanding ability to shoot and pass the ball, and he brings tremendous experience and leadership to our program. He's also been fortunate to have a lot of great basketball coaches in his life, including his dad and a legendary Kentucky high school coach in B.
BG Daily News: Tops down Roadrunners in opener of three-game series
Western Kentucky took the opening game of a three-game road series with a 5-3 win over Conference USA rival Texas-San Antonio on Friday.
Jack Wilson was 3-for-4 with an RBI to pace the Hilltoppers. Kevin Lambert and Nick Brunson added two hits each, with Brunson driving in a run and stealing a base.
Bailey Sutton earned the win in relief, tossing 3 1/3 innings while allowing one run off one hit. He struck out four. Reece Calvert started for the Tops and worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs while fanning five.
WKU (19-20-1 overall, 10-8-1 C-USA) will face UTSA (19-23, 8-11) in Game 2 of the series Saturday at 2 p.
WKU Herald: WKU lands point guard transfer from Lipscomb
The WKU men's basketball team added another piece to the puzzle that is the 2019-20 roster.
The program announced the signing of point guard Kenny Cooper on Wednesday morning. Cooper played three years at Lipscomb University in Nashville and heads to WKU with a year of eligibility left.
Although he is not a graduate transfer, Cooper will attempt to secure a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play in the upcoming season.
Head coach Rick Stansbury said that he is excited to bring a tough, experienced player to WKU.
"We're excited to have Kenny join our program," Stansbury said in a press release.
BG Daily News: Wildcats hit six homers to beat WKU at BG Ballpark
Kentucky made it a season-sweep of the Hilltoppers with half of its homers scoring six runs after the sixth inning. WKU (18-20-1) went through seven pitchers that allowed 15 hits and the most home runs by any opponent since Florida Atlantic hit six homers off WKU on May 17 last season.
"I think the biggest thing is the game was competitive for half the game," WKU coach John Pawlowski said. "The second half of the game, (Kentucky) did a great job. They put some good swings on it and got themselves in really positive hitting counts and when you do that against anybody, especially a team like that, they're going to swing the bats.