Special to the Daily Times
GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Despite an unimpressive overall record, the Shawnee State men’s basketball team entered the weekend tied for second in the Mid-South Conference.
While there’s a lot of basketball left to play, the Bears’ position took a hit with an 81-69 loss Saturday at Georgetown.
After a close game that saw 11 ties and 15 lead changes, SSU fell apart in the final minutes. A Jeremy Bennington 3-pointer put SSU ahead 69-66 with 3:25 to play but that was the last bucket the Bears would score.
Meanwhile, the Tigers embarked on a dominating 15-0 run to improve to 13-4 overall and 4-4 in the Mid-South Conference. SSU falls to 9-7 and 6-3 in the conference.
The Bears were outrebounded 48-46 overall and made just 12-of-27 free throws in the loss.
“We put ourselves in position to win,” Shawnee State coach Jeff Hamilton said. “You just have to execute.
“That goes down to free throw shooting to blocking out. These guys have played long enough to know every possession is critical.”
Bennington led all scorers with 23 points along with six rebounds. Tyler Boyles added 14 points for the Bears and Andrew Devlin scored 11 with 10 rebounds.
Georgetown was led by Vic Moses’ 17 points and Allan Thomas’ 15. Three other Tigers scored 12 points in the victory.
Shawnee State and Georgetown split last season’s series, with each team winning on its home court. The teams will see each other Jan. 24 in Portsmouth.
Georgetown tied the game at 66 with 18.2 seconds to play in regulation. Boyles’ fourth foul sent Monty Wilson to the line as the junior guard hit both shots. A game-winning attempt for the Bears by Tyler Morgan was no good, sending the game to overtime.
“It was a great college basketball game,” Hamilton said. “Both teams fought, it was physical.
“I give Georgetown a lot of credit. At the end of the game they did the things they needed to do.
Hamilton did feel the defeat was more than just a number in the loss column.
“I think we lost some confidence,” he said. “It’s tough when you have the lead the last five minutes of the game and you give up baskets for them to force overtime.”
Neither team was able to establish dominance in the first half. Shawnee State outrebounded Georgetown 22-12 in the first half despite a height disadvantage.
Georgetown’s roster boasts four players 6-7 or taller, while the tallest player the Bears used in the first half was the 6-6 Bennington. Devlin led SSU’s first half scoring effort with eight points.