SSU Sports Information
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Men’s basketball has made a habit of playing its best when the competition is at its highest. Yesterday, the Bears nearly knocked off a ranked team. On Saturday, the Bears had another chance against No. 23 Southern Oregon and they capitalized with an 88-86 victory.
The Bears got double figure scoring from four different players in the victory. Ian Nixson led the Bears with a career-high 22 points. Tyler Morgan added 19 and 10 rebounds for the double-double. Jeremy Bennington finished with 18 points, while Tyler Boyles added 10.
Those four players combined for 69 of the Bears 88 points. However, the Raiders also had four players post double figure scoring (23, 21, 17, and 14), as those players combined for all but 11 of the team’s points. However, only three other players scored for the Raiders, while five others scored for SSU, including eight off the bench from Ethan Moffat. Bennington also scored his points coming off the bench to help Shawnee State hold a 33-17 edge in points off the bench.
For the second straight day, the Bears started quickly against their nationally-ranked foe as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead just over a minute into the game that included five points from Nixson. SSU would stretch that lead all the way to 22-13 just eight minutes into the game. A 6-0 run by Southern Oregon would cut the Bears lead to just three with 9:50 left in the first half; however, Shawnee State would answer right back and stretch its lead to game-high 10 points just over 13 minutes in, at 31-21.
Over those final seven minutes, Southern Oregon would score 26 of the last 38 points in the half. This allowed the Raiders to take a four-point lead into the break, 47-43.
The second half saw the lead change seven times in the first five-plus minutes. The score would also be tied at one other point during that time. The Bears would never trail Bennington hit a three with 14:51 on the clock to give his team a 57-56 edge. However, the score would end up tied at 59 and 61-all.
Morgan hit both of his free throws to break the 59-all deadlock and right after Southern Oregon answered on its next possession, it was again Morgan who laid it in to give the Bears a 63-61 lead with 12:45 left in the game. From that point on, the Bears would not trail but led by no more than six at any point.
The Bears lead was cut down to two points after a Southern Oregon three with 1:43 to play. On the Bears next trip down the floor, Bennington was fouled shooting a three and made all three of his attempts from the line to stretch the lead to five. Boyles would block Southern Oregon’s next shot down the floor. Morgan hit one free throw on each of the Bears next two possessions down the floor to give the Bears an 87-80 lead with 19 seconds.
The Raiders hit a three with 10 seconds remaining and Nixson would get one of his two free throws to go down after the foul on the inbound. The Raiders again knocked down a three on their next possession to cut the game to 88-86. With just three seconds remaining, the Bears just needed to have a successful inbounds and did so to hold on to the win.
Shawnee State shot 25-of-50 from the field, including 8-of-20 from distance. Bennington converted 6-of-8 from three. In a game that saw 55 fouls called between the two squads, the Bears went 30-of-41 from the line, while Southern Oregon went just 15-of-24 from the line.
The Bears will be back in action this Thursday on their home court to open up Mid-South play vs. No. 25 University of the Cumberlands at 8 p.m. They will also host Cumberland University on Saturday in a 4 p.m. tilt.