PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Men's Basketball) – The Shawnee State men's basketball team led No. 18 Georgetown College by 11 points with 7:31 remaining in the contest, but faced a staunch full-court pressure over the final minutes – letting the lead slip away en route to a 71-68 defeat to fall to 0-6 in Mid-South Conference play on Thursday night at Frank and Janis Waller Gymnasium.
The Bears came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, as the squad turned a four-point halftime advantage into a 12-point lead with 14:40 to play. Ethan Moffatt (JR/Somerville, Tenn.) and Nick Tingle (JR/Clayton, Ohio) connected on easy buckets to open the half, before a Sean Elliott (JR/Canal Winchester, Ohio) triple made it 38-29 with 18:27 remaining.
Moffatt and Elliott jostled back-and-forth throughout the contest as to who could come up with the bigger shot in the bigger moment. Each seemed to be unable to miss in big opportunities in the first half and early in the second. Elliott finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Moffatt scored 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Georgetown opened the contest on a tear of its own, jumping out to a 17-9 advantage with 12:04 remaining in the first half. The Bears were stifled by the inside play of Tiger forward Deondre McWhorter, who was a huge presence inside the paint. 6-foot-8 forward notched a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Shawnee State's 11-point lead at the 7:31 mark in the second half was quickly diminished by a full-court press by the Tigers, along with heavy on-ball pressure in the half court. During a one-minute stretch near the five minute mark, GC forced four straight turnovers to turn a nine-point game into a 60-60 tie.
The Tigers then took their first lead since the 3:35 mark in the first half with a 15-0 run, holding the Bears scoreless for nearly five minutes, taking a 66-60 advantage.
SSU was not done quite yet, as Elliott connected from three with 42 seconds on the clock to make it 66-63. After a pair of free throws from Georgetown's Mike Walker pushed it back to five, J. Murrell (FR/Columbus, Ohio) connected on a layup to make it 68-65. Walker added another free throw to make it a four-point game with 18 seconds remaining.
Elliott again came up huge with the final of his six triples at the 12-second mark to make it 69-68, and the Bears forced a turnover on the ensuing inbound. With nine seconds left, SSU drew up one final play, but a pass from Moffatt to Nick Tingle trickled out of bounds handing it back to the Tigers.
Georgetown's Darion Burns hit a pair of free throws before Elliott's final desperation three sailed to the right of the basket, sending the game to its 71-68 final score.
Shawnee State shot 44.8 percent from the field in the contest – including 47.7 percent from three-point range – but committed 21 turnovers while sending the Tigers to the free throw line 22 times. GC connected on 19 of those freebies. The Bears were just 7-of-13 from the charity stripe.
SSU is back in action a week from Thursday versus St. Catharine College. The Bears will play host to the Patriots in Mid-South action, with tip-off slated for 8 p.m.