WKU holds off St. Mary’s 69-67 in NIT opener

WKU holds off St. Mary’s 69-67 in NIT opener
Conference USA basketball tournament March 9-13, 2021. (Source: Roger Steinman)

(WAVE) - Taveion Hollingsworth sank two free throws with 3.3 seconds left as Western Kentucky held on to beat St. Mary’s 69-67 in the opening of the National Invitation Tournament in Frisco, Texas.

The Toppers led most of the game, including 55-44 with 11:24 remaining, but the Gaels came all the way back.

An Alex Ducas three-pointer with 47.6 seconds left gave them a 67-65 lead.

WKU answered by going to Charles Bassey. The big man responded, slamming home the final two of his 19 points with 36.8 seconds left to tie the game.

A Josh Anderson deflection resulted in a Bassey steal with 10.2 seconds left. Hollingsworth was fouled driving to the basket.

He sank both, completing a perfect 6-6 night at the line. He led all scorers with 21 points.

Bassey added 11 rebounds to his 19 points. The Toppers only turned the ball over four times in the game.

They improve to 21-7 and advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT. St. Mary’s finishes 14-10.

WKU will face the winner of Ole Miss (16-11) and Louisiana Tech (21-7) on March 25. The semifinals are March 27 and the championship game is March 28.

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