WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – Men’s basketball made a late run against the University of the Cumberlands on Saturday afternoon. However, the Bears (7-8, 1-3 MSC) were unable to ever catch the Patriots (9-4, 1-2 MSC), falling by a final score of 73-67.
Both teams had a trio of players who finished with double figures in the scoring column. UC’s R.J. Scott finished with a game-high 21 points and another nine rebounds. Steve Goins caused problems all day with 17 points and 11 rebounds while nearly recording a triple-double with eight blocked shots. Shaquille Lowery also added 18 points for the winning side. Shawnee State was led offensively by Andrew Devlin and Trevor Banks who each finished with 16 points. Devlin finished one rebound shy of a double-double as he pulled down nine rebounds. Andrew Bendolph added 10 points for the Bears.
The Bears were forced to play gritty defense throughout the game as several times the Patriots appeared poised to win the game in a runaway. Right out of the gates, UC was doubling up SSU, 18-9, with 13:49 to play in the half. UC would lead by as many as 13 points as it continued to double up the Bears, 26-13, with 9:43 left in the opening half.
Down by what would end up being a game-high lead for the Patriots, the Bears used a balanced scoring run that featured points from five different players during a 10-1 run that cut the deficit to four points, 27-23, with just under four minutes to play in the half. The two teams would trade baskets up until the halftime buzzer with UC scoring last and holding a 35-29 advantage halfway through the game.
UC also came out strong from the locker room in the second half and scored 15 of the first 24 points to take a 12-point lead, 50-38, with 13 minutes to play. UC would still be leading by 11 points with 9:27 to play before the Bears made their final charge.
SSU’s run of 10-1 again featured a variety of scoring options as Nick Gouch and Bendolph added three points while Mark Bryant and Devlin also added baskets to make it a one possession game, 59-57, with 6:38 to play.
Bendolph would later make the game a one-point affair at the 3:47 mark when he converted his own steal on the defensive end into a layup at the offensive end, putting the score at 66-65. Just when it appeared as though the Bears were poised to take the lead, the Bears went cold from the field. UC would score the next seven points before Devlin scored his final two points in the winding seconds to make it a 73-67 final.
All seven of the Patriots’ points during the four minutes of the game came at the free throw line. This only served as a small sample size of the game as SSU made 25 field goals compared to just 20 shots from the field for the hosts. However, UC went 24-of-31 from the line while the Bears were just 15-of-19 at the line. UC also hit five 3-pointers in the game versus just two for Shawnee State.
Men’s basketball will now have a full week of preparation to get ready for rival Rio Grande. The Bears will travel to meet the RedStorm next Saturday in a 4 p.m. tip. The game will be preceded by the women’s game at 2 p.m.