PORTSMOUTH – Men's basketball exacted some revenge from its MSC Tournament defeat a year ago with a 77-61 win on its home court Thursday evening against Campbellsville to pick up its first win of the new calendar year. With the win on Thursday, the Bears (8-9, 2-4 MSC) have now won three of last four contests against the Tigers (7-8, 2-5 MSC) and were winners in each of the SSU home games between the two schools in three straight seasons.
Five different players scored in double figures to lead a very balanced offensive outing for Shawnee State. Trevor Banks led the way with a double-double as he scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds .The double-double was both the second of his season and his career with the Bears. Mark Bryant finished with 16 points in the win while Andrew Bendolph added 12 points off the bench. Andrew Devlin and Sean Elliott each scored 10 points in the win.
After a fairly even start to the game, the Bears went on a 12-2 run, taking a lead they would not surrender that rest of the night, 20-14. Campbellsville would get that deficit back down to two points later in the first half but a basket in the paint from Devlin and back-to-back threes from Banks would stake the Bears to a 28-18 lead with 7:54 to play in the opening half.
Shawnee State would continue that run with strong defensive play as Dante Dunston added a pair of free throws while Ethan Moffatt added two more points in the paint to give his team a 32-18 lead with 5:55 showing on the first half clock. Finally, the Tigers broke a four-plus minute offensive scoring draught with a pair of free throws after a technical foul was issued for an administrative error at the scorer's table.
Campbellsville would also drain a three on its next possession and trailed by six with just over five minutes to go in the half. The Tigers would halt a quick 4-0 spurt from the Bears as they turned a turnover into points on the offensive end but Shawnee State finished strong with a 7-0 run over the final 2:49 of the opening half to take a 14-point lead, 43-29, into the locker room.
The second half saw the Bears hold an advantage of at least 10 points for the majority of the action. The closest Campbellsville would come in the second half was within eight points, 48-40, with 12:26 left in regulation. However, Kai Turner answered that Tigers' basket with his own points in the paint to put Shawnee State up by double figures.
With just under four minutes to go in the contest, Campbellsville got within nine points, 64-55, but the Bears would finish their convincing MSC win on a strong note as they scored 13 of the final 19 points to put an exclamation point on their win. The 16-point lead that the Bears held at the end of regulation was their biggest lead of the entire night.
Shawnee State shot a slightly better 23-of-53 (43%) from the field compared to Campbellsville's 19-of-49 (39%) night. The Bears were also eight points better at the free throw line going 24-of-31 on the night compared to just 16-of-26 for the Tigers. SSU also took a significant edge in rebounding with a 45-30 advantage in that category.
Men's basketball will be back at home this Saturday against No. 14 St. Catharine. That game is slated for a 4 p.m. start time and will be played after the women's game at 2 p.m.