PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Men's Basketball) – Before the start of Saturday evening's contest against Northwestern Ohio, the Shawnee State men's basketball program and all in attendance took a moment of silence to remember the life of Sean Franklin Elliott, who passed away in June.
After Saturday's evening's contest had commenced, it was evidently clear that the Bears had done Elliott proud – not only in winning a nonconference bout against the Northwestern Ohio Racers – but in how they did it.
Shawnee State (1-0) would overcome an 8-0 run by the Racers at the end of the first half and another 8-1 run by Northwestern Ohio (0-1) early in the second half by going on tilts of 12-3 and 10-3 late in the second half and staving off a late Racer run en route to a 62-54 victory at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium.
Throughout the contest, points would be hard to come by as Shawnee State would shoot 40 percent from the field and 36.4 percent in the second half of play.
However, the Bears' defense made life miserable for the Northwestern Ohio offensive attack, as the Racers were held to just 32.8 percent shooting for the game – including a 27.6 percent mark in the first half of play. Additionally, Shawnee State would obtain a sizeable edge on the glass, as the Bears grabbed 30 defensive rebounds to Northwestern Ohio's 16 as Shawnee State obtained 44 rebounds compared to the Racers' 30.
Both teams would trade the lead back-and-forth to start the contest as the lead would change hands five times over the first five minutes of play before the Bears would go on a 5-0 tilt behind two Dante Dunston (SR/Dallas, Texas) jumpers and a Jacob Daniels (JR/Peebles, Ohio) free throw as Shawnee State took a 9-5 advantage with 13:56 to play in the first half.
For over three minutes, neither team could find the bottom of the net as both squads would combine to miss each of the contest's next five shot attempts before Northwestern Ohio answered with two buckets from Lawrence Jackson and Ray Beatty to tie the game at 9-all.
Devon Carter (SR/Clayton, Ohio)'s corner jumper would finally prove to be the icebreaker that Shawnee State needed as the senior's one-foot fadeaway from the right side fell in to give the Bears the lead back with 8:49 left in the half.
Both teams would trade baskets over the next three minutes of play until Shawnee State would put some distance between itself and Northwestern Ohio in turning a 15-14 contest into a 23-18 advantage behind a three-pointer from Dunston as well as a tip-in and free throw from Frederick Moore (SO/Cincinnati, Ohio).
Ray Beatty, however, would catch fire for the Racers, as the junior would score six points in Northwestern Ohio's aforementioned eight-point swing as the Bears fell behind by three entering the halftime break.
Both teams would go back-and-forth with runs to start the second half, as Moore would nail a three-pointer on the first possession of the second half for Shawnee State to help push the Bears to a five-point advantage. Jackson, however, would get hot from the outside for Northwestern Ohio as the junior drained two threes to give the lead back to the Racers.
Shawnee State's gritty play on defense, however, would begin to wear Northwestern Ohio down, as the Bears used a 12-3 run behind four points each from Dunston and Ethan Moffatt (SR/Somerville, Tenn.) to take a 41-37 advantage with 11:14 remaining in the contest.
While Northwestern Ohio would answer with two consecutive baskets – including a wicked throwdown from Mike Chambers to tie the contest at 41 apiece, Shawnee State would not be rattled as the Bears went on a 12-2 run behind seven points from Carter to take a 10-point lead – the largest of the contest for either team – with 4:48 to play in the game.
However, the Racers would regroup once more, as Northwestern Ohio – behind five points from Josh Scott and four points from Lawrence – methodically whittled the deficit down as an 11-3 run allowed the Racers to trail by just a deuce with just a minute and 22 seconds remaining in the tilt.
The Shawnee State defense, however, would come up big when it mattered most as the Bears forcing five straight missed shots. The combined effort, along with Shawnee State's flawless free throw shooting – 21-of-24 from the line in the second half – never allowed Northwestern Ohio to get any closer as Carter scored the game's final six points – all from the free throw stripe – in going a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line and giving the Bears the aforementioned victory.
On the night, Carter's flawless shooting from the foul line would give the senior 15 points to lead the Shawnee State brigade. Dunston and Tingle would add 14 and 11 points, respectively, to join Carter in double-figures.
The Shawnee State men's basketball program will obtain a full week of rest before hosting West Virginia Tech on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 4:00 p.m. at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium. Two days later, the Bears will host another home game as Shawnee State plays host to rival Rio Grande at 7 p.m., which will also be played at Waller Gymnasium.