PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Men's Basketball) – Despite struggling to get started in the first half, the Shawnee State men's basketball team found its stride on opening night, cruising to an 89-55 victory over Kent State University at Tuscarawas on Saturday night at Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium.
Devon Carter led the Bears with 16 points, as one of four players to finish the contest in double figures. Dante Dunston added 14, Andrew Bendolf tacked on 12 and Jorian Hudson scored 11 in the SSU victory.
The Bears got off to a slow start, as a triple from Tuscarawas' Phil Forte' put the Eagles ahead 9-8 near the 16-minute mark. The contest remained close over the next seven minutes, with SSU holding an advantage between two and five points.
Leading 22-20, SSU was finally able to take command, closing the half on a 17-6 run to head into the break up, 39-26. A layup from Hudson and a trey from Carter in the closing minute sent the Bears into the locker room on a 5-0 spurt.
Dunston led the way with eight points at the break, while Kai Turner tallied six rebounds in the half. The Bears were dominant on the boards in the first half, outrebounding the Eagles, 28-10.
Shawnee State continued to push the tempo in the second half, scoring 50 points over the final 20 minutes. The Bears were led by Carter in the second stanza, notching 11 points
The Eagles were able to bring the game to as close as nine in the second half at 39-30, and cut it to 10 at 49-39, but Shawnee State responded with a 10-0 run capped by a jumper from Frederick Moore – putting the Bears ahead 59-39 at the 11:29 mark.
Holding a 60-42 advantage, the Bears embarked on a 17-4 run which put the game away for good. SSU took advantage of a substantial size-advantage, outscoring the Eagles, 36-12, in the paint. Shawnee added 29 points off turnovers – compared to just 13 from Tuscarawas – 24 second-chance points and 16 points on the break.
Up big late in the game, head coach Jeff Hamilton was able to dig deep on the bench, playing 15 players in the contest. Of those 15, 13 were able to tally at least a bucket and 12 added at least one rebound.
SSU returns to action one week from Saturday, traveling to Northwestern Ohio for its first road contest of the season. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. in Lima, Ohio.