BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Taveion Hollingsworth scored 23 points and had a dunk in the final seconds to put the finishing touches on Western Kentucky’s 86-79 overtime win over previously unbeaten Arkansas on Saturday.
The Hilltoppers (7-3) pulled away in the extended period as Arkansas (8-1) made just 2-of-7 shots from the field in the final five minutes. The Razorbacks entered the night receiving votes in the last top 25 poll.
Arkansas was outscored 13-6 in overtime and committed four of its 16 turnovers in the extra period. The Razorbacks’ loss leaves Auburn as the last unbeaten team in the Southeastern Conference.
“You can’t play well on the road and in a building that’s full like this and turn the ball over 16 times,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “Certainly not happy about tonight.”
Hollingsworth also added nine points and six rebounds while Jared Savage (14 points), Josh Anderson (15 points), Camron Justice (12 points) and Charles Bassey (10 points) joined him in double figuresin front of 6,862 in attendance at E.A. Diddle Arena, the largest crowd of the season.
Hollingsworth credited the arena noise for helping Western Kentucky knock off the first SEC team to visit Bowling Green since Ole Miss in 2013.
The Hilltoppers are now 8-4 since the 2017-18 season against Power Five opponents.
Western Kentucky entered the game with two straight losses against No. 1 Louisville and a road defeat at Wright State on Tuesday.
“They were a really big part of how we came back in that game,” Hollingsworth said of the crowd. “Even though we’ve been through a couple of games we should’ve won, for them to all come out and support us tonight, it means a lot.”
Bassey left the game with under four minutes to play with an apparent left leg injury and the Razorbacks capitalized by building a five-point lead in a game that was otherwise separated by no more than one possession until overtime.
Arkansas moved into the lead in the first half on a 3-pointer from Joe at 24-23 but made just two field goals over the last six minutes of the half and trailed the Hilltoppers 33-28 at the break.
The Razorbacks came out firing in the second half by making seven consecutive shots to move into a 44-39 lead.
Neither team separated by more than one possession until the Sills’ wide open 3-pointer at the 1:39 mark to make it a 68-63 lead for Arkansas.
The Hilltoppers mounted a rally with Jared Savage’s 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining to force overtime.
“I thought we showed a lot of grit,” Hilltoppers coach Rick Stansbury said. “Down five late in that game after we lost Charles, you can very easily let some emotion leave your body but we didn’t do it. I thought our guys took their emotion to another level and found ways to go make plays.”
Western Kentucky: Sophomore center Charles Bassey left the game late in the second half with a left knee injury. He was assisted off the court without putting pressure on his left leg. The Hilltoppers’ top professional prospect entered the night averaging 15.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks entered the night one of 16 undefeated teams in the nation after their best start since 1997-98. The Razorbacks handed WKU a $1.5 million check for a three-game package in men’s basketball and football. The Hilltoppers won all three contests.
Arkansas: Hosts Tulsa next Saturday in Fayetteville.
Western Kentucky: Has over a week off before hosting Kentucky Wesleyan in an exhibition on Dec. 17.
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