A pair of teams at the top of the Conference USA standings will do battle when Western Kentucky hosts Charlotte on Saturday night at E.A. Diddle Arena. Charlotte is 10-5 and has won four games in a row. The Hilltoppers have won seven of the last nine head-to-head meetings and are 11-6 this season.
Charlotte on four-game winning streakCharlotte’s four-game winning streak has come on the heels of a narrow loss to East Carolina before Christmas. The 49ers have put together a strand of wins against UAB, Middle Tennessee State, Old Dominion and Marshall. Their most recent victory was the 77-75 win on the road against the Thundering Herd. Charlotte led by nine points at halftime and held off Marshall late in the game to improve to 4-0 in conference play.
The 49ers are led by junior guard Jordan Shepherd, who is scoring 14.5 points per game and is dishing out 3.5 assists per game. He has struggled to find his stroke from beyond the arc, making 7 of 32 from distance. Freshman guard Jahmir Young is the only other player in double figures, scoring 11.6 points per game to go along with a team-high 5.1 rebounds per contest. He has been one of the best outside shooters on the team, making 21 of 54 from distance. Senior guard Drew Edwards is adding 9.9 points per game and sophomore guard Malik Martin is contributing 8.5 points per outing.
Western Kentucky hunting top spot in conferenceWestern Kentucky is off to a hot start in conference play, winning four of its first five games. The victories have come against North Texas, Rice, Middle Tennessee State and Old Dominion. The lone loss was a 10-point setback against UAB on Jan. 9. The Hilltoppers were picked to win the conference in the pre-season poll, but that was largely based on dynamic NBA prospect Charles Bassey. The sophomore center was scoring 15.3 points per game and grabbing 9.2 rebounds per game before going down with a season-ending injury.
Charlotte comes to town tomorrow and is undefeated in @ConferenceUSA play. Big opportunity for the Hilltoppers, and we need another special Diddle environment! #GoTops— WKU Hilltopper Basketball (@WKUBasketball) January 17, 2020
📝 | https://t.co/pzmVuig1M8 pic.twitter.com/Bc5cnb7W05
With Bassey no longer in the mix, junior guard Taveion Hollingsworth has stepped up and is scoring 14.0 points per game. He is also grabbing 4.1 rebounds per game and is dishing out 2.8 assists per contest. Junior forward Carson Williams is scoring 13.2 points per game and is pulling down 6.5 rebounds per game. He has been efficient from beyond the arc, knocking down 11 of 25 from distance. Senior guard Camron Justice is adding 11.9 points per game and senior wing Jared Savage is contributing 10.2 points per game. Savage is also pulling down 6.2 rebounds per game.
- 12-3-1 ATS in its last 16 Saturday games
- 6-2 ATS in its last eight games overall
- 4-1 ATS in its last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record
Western Kentucky is:
- 2-6 ATS in its last eight home games
- 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games vs. a team with a winning record
- 1-7 ATS in its last eight games following a win