FRANKFORT, Ky. (Men's Basketball) – Ninth-seeded Shawnee State University scored 37 points off the bench – including 26 combined from Ethan Moffatt (JR/Somerville, Tenn.) and Frederick Moore (FR/Cincinnati, Ohio) – as the Bears erased a seven-point first half deficit to take a 70-59 victory over eighth-seeded Cumberland University in the opening round of the Mid-South Conference Championships on Thursday at the Frankfort Convention Center.
The victory was the first for the Bears all-time in Mid-South tournament play since joining the conference prior to the 2010-11 season. SSU advances to play the top-seeded and No. 4 nationally-ranked University of Pikeville on Friday at 2 p.m.
Moffatt finished the game with a game-high 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including hitting a pair of big three pointers as SSU built a lead in the second half. Moore finished with 12 on 5-of-6 shooting and Jorian Hudson (JR/Cincinnati, Ohio) added 13 points to go with a game-high eight rebounds.
The Bears built a 15-point advantage over the first ten minutes of the second half, after heading into the locker room up seven, 36-29. Cumberland cut the deficit to three with 13:32 remaining, but the Bears rattled off 12-straight points on two buckets from Jacob Daniels (SO/Peebles, Ohio), one from Hudson and a three-pointer from Moffatt. J. Murrell (FR/Columbus, Ohio) closed the run with three free throws.
Cumberland again cut into the deficit, narrowing it to four again by the 3:17 mark in the second half, but a pair of free throws from Moffatt followed by a triple from Sean Elliott (JR/Canal Winchester, Ohio) put the contest out of reach. Two free throws from Nick Gouch (JR/Columbus, Ohio) would mark the final scoring of the game.
The Bears limited CU to just 18-of-59 shooting in the game, including a 25 percent clip in the second half. The Bulldogs hit just 8-of-32 attempts in the second period.
SSU, meanwhile, connected on 23-of-45 shots in the game, hitting 6-of-11 from the three point line and 11-of-18 from three. The Bears also won the rebounding battle, 41-31.
Shawnee State trailed by as many as seven in the first half, as a hot –shooting Cumberland squad opened the game on a 6-1 run. The Bulldogs continued to lead – jumping ahead 19-12 at the 12:05 mark – until SSU took its first lead with 8:35 to play, thanks to a 10-0 spurt from the Bears during that four minute stretch.
During that spurt, Devon Carter (JR/Clayton, Ohio) found Gouch for a thunderous dunk on a familiar play. A play the Bears have run all season out of a timeout, Carter took the inbound deep at the left wing. Gouch cut backdoor and caught the lob only to finish hard at the rim and make it a 19-16 game.
Cumberland tied the game twice, at 24 and 29, but did not lead following the 10-0 run. The Bears built the lead with a three from Carter followed by a bucket from Moore with 14 seconds remaining in the period.