PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Men's Basketball) – The Shawnee State men's basketball team outlasted a furious late comeback from Mid-South Conference foe Life University -- down six with 55 seconds to play – to hold on for an 84-81 victory over the Running Eagles on Thursday night at Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium.
The Bears shot an impressive 50.9 percent from the field, connecting on 29-of-57 attempts, while hitting 6-of-14 from three and 20-of-25 from the charity stripe.
SSU was led by Nick Tingle (JR/Clayton, Ohio) who finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Jorian Hudson (JR/Cincinnati, Ohio) added 15 points – grabbing six rebounds -- Sean Elliot tacked on 14 and Ethan Moffatt (JR/Somerville, Tenn.) landed in double-figures with 10.
Back-to-back buckets from Hudson at the 1:23 and 55 second marks put the Bears ahead six points in the closing minute, however a quick bucket, SSU turnover and Allen Dantzler triple cut the lead to one in just a 30-second stretch.
Devon Carter (JR/Clayton, Ohio) answered with a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining and – following a layup from Life's Joe Wilbert – Sean Elliott (JR/Canal Winchester, Ohio) did the same, leaving the Running Eagles with a final chance with seven seconds to play. Travien Geter got a look from the corner, but the shot rattled out and the Bears escaped with the much-needed conference victory.
Caleb Hayes led the way for Life with a game-high 22 points, hitting 6-of-12 from behind the arc. Wilbert added a double-double, scoring 14 points to go with 10 caroms.
The two squads jockeyed back-and-forth over the opening minutes before Hayes connected to break a 16-16 tie with 9:08 in the first half. The Running Eagles held onto the lead for the remainder of the half, extending the advantage to as many as nine.
Trailing by seven with 1:07 on the clock, Hudson connected on two free throws and J. Murrell (FR/Columbus, Ohio) hit a layup in the closing seconds to send the game to the locker room at 39-36 in favor of the visitors.
Life held on to that advantage until the 10:56 mark when a layup from Tingle brought the contest to its sixth tie. The Bears followed with a 7-0 spurt on layups from Hudson and Tingle and a crowd-pleasing triple from Carter to jump ahead by seven, 63-56, with 9:31 to play.
The Bears led by seven on two more occasions during the closing stretch, but the Running Eagles continued to cut into the lead, finally hitting the seventh and eighth ties of the game between the five and three-minute marks. SSU lead for the final 2:58 of the game.
Shawnee State is back in action Saturday for its final non-conference matchup of the season on Saturday versus West Virginia Tech. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m.