PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Men's Basketball) – The Shawnee State men's basketball team turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a one-point lead at the 7:27 mark in the second half and never looked back en route to an 81-76 victory over the University of Rio Grande on Wednesday night at Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium.
Andrew Bendolph (SR/Portsmouth, Ohio) scored a game-high 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting – adding 8-of-13 from the charity stripe – as the senior was named Shawnee State's Dick Hyland Player of the Game. The award is given to the top performer from each team in the rivalry matchup.
Jorian Hudson (JR/Cincinnati, Ohio) notched 18 points, while Devon Carter (JR/Clayton, Ohio) and Nick Tingle (JR/Clayton, Ohio) each landed in double-figures scoring, as well. Frederick Moore (FR/Cincinnati, Ohio) grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, tacking on nine points in the victory.
Shawnee State led by as many as four points in the opening minutes when a Hudson layup put the Bears ahead 11-7 at the 17-minute mark. The RedStorm reclaimed the lead with a 23-5 run over the next eight minutes to surge ahead, 30-20.
The lead remained near ten points for the remainder of the half and reached 12 when Evan Legg converted three free throws following a foul from Carter with one minute left in the opening frame. Rio Grande headed into the locker room ahead, 44-32.
A triple from Will Hill to open the half extended URG's lead to a game-high 15, but the Bears followed with a spurt beginning with seven points from Bendolph and a layup from Tingle over the next two minutes.
At the 14:24 mark, Hudson came off a back screen heading straight to the basket. Carter sent a pass from the left wing toward the bucket and Hudson finished with an emphatic alley-oop dunk to ignite the crowd and cut the deficit to six.
Bendolph and Carter followed with a pair of layups to cut it to two, but the RedStorm responded with a quick two – sending the game to the first media break of the second half at 54-50 in favor of the visitors.
Legg extended the lead to five with a triple at the 9:26 mark, before a steal-and-score from Carter and a quick bucket from Tingle again made it a one-point game. Carter would sink a pair of free throws a minute later to make it 59-58 in favor of SSU – its first lead in more than 26 minutes.
Following a Hill three-pointer to give the lead back to the RedStorm, Shawnee State embarked on a 10-0 run to seize control. The run featured triples from Carter and Tingle, sandwiched between two made free throws. Hudson capped the run with a fast break layup on the heels of a Carter takeaway.
Shawnee State would never again surrender the lead, keeping the advantage at more than five for the final two minutes. SSU shot an impressive 60 percent (12-of-25) in the second half, hitting 45 percent of shots in the contest.
The Bears are back in action Saturday when the squad travels to Life University for a Mid-South Conference bout, the final of the 2014 calendar year. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. in Marietta, Ga.