RIO GRANDE, Ohio – Men's basketball was edged out in a back and forth contest on the road with rival Rio Grande Saturday, 78-77. It was a game that was tied on 12 different occasions and saw 14 lead changes but the RedStorm (11-5, 4-1 MSC) would prevail over the Bears (7-9, 1-4) to retain the Dick Hyland Memorial Trophy.
Mark Bryant led four Shawnee State players that reached double figures as he scored a game-high 20 points. Trevor Banks added 14 points while Andrew Devlin and Andrew Bendolph each scored 10 points in the win. Devlin also added a game-high 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.
Rio Grande made the first strike on the offensive end. Devon Carter knocked down a three to put the Bears up 5-2 just over a minute into the game. The RedStorm would then score the next 15 points to go up 17-5 just over four minutes into the game. They would hold at least a 10-point lead all the way up until there was under 12 minutes to play in the opening half.
Trailing 24-14 at that point, Shawnee State made its first run of the game and outscored Rio Grande 10-1 over the next two-plus minutes to get within a point, 25-24. The Bears would finally pull even just over five minutes later and took their first lead of the game after a pair of free throws from Carter. The Bears would relinquish the lead for a couple minutes but Bendolph hit the final basket of the half in the paint to put his team up 39-38 at the break.
Of the 12 ties that took place on Saturday, nine of those occurred over the final 20 minutes. During the second half, there were also a total of nine lead changes. Both the RedStorm and Bears held leads of four points during those final 20 minutes; however, neither side was able to extend their leads further than that during the final half.
Rio took its biggest lead of the half with 15:19 on the clock, holding a 49-45 lead. The Bears would hold a four-point lead of their own at the 11:59 mark with a 57-53 advantage on the scoreboard. Rio would then go on the largest run of the second half, an 8-0 margin in a span 1:24 to match their largest lead of the half, 61-57, with 10:25 to play.
Shawnee State answered that 8-0 run with a 7-0 run of their own to go back up by three. The eighth tie of the game occurred at the 7:40 mark with the teams knotted at 66. The game would also be tied at 68, 70, and 73. The 73-all time came after a basket from Dante Dunston in the paint to tie the score with 3:13 left on the clock.
Rio Grande retook the lead with a Philip Hertz three. However, Bendolph would get to the line with 2:00 to play and knock down a pair of free throws. After a series of defensive stops by both sides, Bryant hit a jumper with 32 seconds remaining to put his squad up by one point.
Down by one with their final possession, Rio Grande's Travis Elliot got to the free throw line with two seconds to play. He would calmly knock down both as the RedStorm used those last second free throws to escape with the win on their home court.
Men's basketball will have a full MSC weekend upcoming as it hosts Campbellsville on next Thursday at 8 p.m. before St. Catharine comes to Portsmouth that Saturday in a 4 p.m. tip.