HILLTOPPERS, SAMFORD TO PLAY HURRICANE RELIEF EXHIBITION SUNDAY IN BIRMINGHAM
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. —WKU Hilltopper Basketball and Samford are partnering to raise money for the ongoing hurricane relief effort with a “Pack The Pete For Hurricane Relief” game at 1 p.m. CT Sunday at Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala.
The NCAA has granted numerous programs waivers to add an exhibition game with the proceeds going to relief efforts following a series of devastating hurricanes in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Proceeds from Sunday’s game will be donated to the Red Cross Hurricane Irma Relief Fund for Florida.
Admission is free for the game, but a $10 donation is being requested from the Samford Athletic Department to help provide relief for Hurricane Irma victims in Florida.
Gates will open to the arena Sunday at noon.
The Hilltoppers and Bulldogs have met eight times before in regular-season competition, with WKU winning each matchup. They last met on Nov. 23, 2013, in Bowling Green, when the Hilltoppers pulled out a 67-64 victory. Before that meeting, the teams hadn’t played since 1986.
Last year, Samford finished 20-16 under head coach Scott Padgett – the program’s most victories in 11 years and its first winning season since 2005-06.
This will be the first contest against outside competition this year for both programs. WKU will host Campbellsville (Nov. 1) and Cumberland University (Nov. 7) in exhibitions before opening the regular season at home against Missouri State on Nov. 10. Samford hosts Spring Hill College on Nov. 5 in an exhibition before opening the regular season at Arkansas on Nov. 10.
WKU brings a roster with several new faces into its second season under head coach Rick Stansbury, including four members of a nationally recognized recruiting class.
The team will be led by senior forward Justin Johnson, a three-year veteran and the team's leading scorer and rebounder for the past two seasons. Johnson led Conference USA in both rebounding and double-doubles last year.
The Hilltoppers also add the services of several transfers, including guards Lamonte Bearden and Darius Thompson, and forward Dwight Coleby. Those three have participated in a combined seven NCAA Tournaments.
The Hilltoppers are 584-166 all-time at Diddle Arena and are one of the nation's most storied programs. WKU ranks third in NCAA history in regular-season league titles (42), seventh in 20-win seasons (43), ninth in all-time winning percentage (.660) and 18th in all-time wins (1,748).
Official release from WKU sports information