Bassey leads Western Kentucky in 78-77 upset of Arkansas

By ANDREW EPPERSON ,  Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Charles Bassey scored 21 points and hauled in nine rebounds, and Western Kentucky upset Arkansas 78-77 on Saturday.
Bassey was often matched up against Razorbacks star center Daniel Gafford, and the Nigeria native more than held his own on the offensive and defensive end. He blocked five shots, including a layup attempt by Jalen Harris toward the end of regulation that would have given the Razorbacks a late lead.

Jared Savage scored 20 points, while Taveion Hollingsworth added 17 of his own to help the Hilltoppers (5-4) earn their second power-five road upset of the season. They beat West Virginia on Nov. 16.

The Razorbacks were led by Isaiah Joe, who scored 15 of his 19 points by way of the 3-pointer. Gafford scored 17, and his final basket came on a putback with 45 seconds left in the second half that gave his team a lead.

An open layup from Marek Nelson at the 19-second mark proved to be the game-winning basket for the Hilltoppers, as the Razorbacks were unable to convert when they drew up an inbounds play for Gafford with 1.8 seconds left.

Western Kentucky: Since 2017, the Hilltoppers have beaten SMU, Boston College, Purdue, USC, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Arkansas. … Despite Josh Anderson’s ejection in the first half after picking up a flagrant-two foul, they were able to rely on Savage and Hollingsworth to complement Bassey’s low-post dominance.

Arkansas: After locking down on defense to survive at Colorado State, the Razorbacks were unable to replicate that against Western Kentucky. Gaps in the Razorbacks defense allowed the Hilltoppers to get open shots, and they shot 60 percent from behind the arc in the second half. … The Razorbacks led at halftime, and they had previously won their last 64 games in which they were ahead going into second half. … Joe now has 33 3s on the season, which ties Anthlon Bell for the ninth-most made 3s by a freshman in program history.

Western Kentucky returns home to play Troy on Dec. 16.

Arkansas will host UTSA in its annual North Little Rock game next Saturday.

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