PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (Men's Basketball) – The Shawnee State men's basketball program utilized a strong defensive effort as well as 55.6 percent shooting from the floor in the second half of play to turn a 50-40 deficit completely around as the Bears utilized a 24-5 run to defeat West Virginia Tech by a 64-55 count at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium on Sunday evening.
Shawnee State, who honored the memory of fallen Bears' player Sean Elliott with a tree dedication before Sunday's contest against the Golden Bears, was fueled by another gritty effort as Devon Carter (SR/Clayton, Ohio)'s 17 points and nine assists, Nick Tingle (SR/Clayton, Ohio)'s 13 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks as well as Dante Dunston (SR/Dallas, Texas)'s 11 points – including six in the last three and a half minutes of the contest – would lead Shawnee State to the victory.
It was the Bears' team defense, however, that saw Shawnee State head coach Jeff Hamilton's squad through. In the second half alone, the Bears would hold West Virginia Tech to 20.7 percent shooting from the floor and 18.2 percent from three as Shawnee State held the Golden Bears to 33.3 percent shooting for the contest – including 28.6 percent from deep.
At the beginning of the contest, Shawnee State and West Virginia Tech would go on small spurts as the Golden Bears would grab an early 5-2 edge before the Bears came back with a 5-0 run off of a Carter trey and a pair of buckets off of a Dante Dunston jumper and a Nick Tingle layup to give Shawnee State a 7-5 advantage with 16:15 left in the first half of play.
From there, both teams would either tie or trade the lead on a total of five consecutive scoring possessions before the Bears went on its second 5-0 blast of the contest behind a Tingle deuce and another three-pointer by Carter to push the lead to 16-11 – Shawnee State's largest of the first half – at the 8:05 mark.
West Virginia Tech, however, would answer back with a big spurt of its own. Despite air-tight defense from the Bears, the Golden Bears were able to push through on a 13-4 run via eight points from Paul Stone to grab a 24-20 advantage with just over four minutes left in the first stanza.
Shawnee State would get its offense going late as Tingle, Ethan Moffatt (SR/Somerville, Tenn.) and Seth Young (SR/Franklin, Ohio) would all drain shots from inside the arc to pull within three points as the half wound down.
However, West Virginia Tech would keep the Bears at bay as the Golden Bears would drain two of its six treys in the first half – including a bank shot by Eddie Gordon at the buzzer from 30 feet – in the last three and a half minutes of the half to put West Virginia Tech up by a 32-26 tally at the intermission.
In the beginning of the second half, the Golden Bears would use a 9-4 spurt off of points from six different West Virginia Tech players to grab an 11-point Golden Bears' lead – the largest advantage of the contest – with 16:42 to play.
Shawnee State's offensive attack would kick into gear as the frontcourt – led by Tingle, Moffatt and Jacob Daniels (JR/Peebles, Ohio) – would grab eight of the Bears' next 10 points. However, Matthew Kallead's five points in a span of less than a minute and a half would allow West Virginia Tech to hold a steady advantage as the Golden Bears took a 50-40 lead with 11:22 to play.
Shawnee State's defensive attack, however, would begin to make life miserable for West Virginia Tech as after Kallead's three-point basket at the 12:12 mark, the Bears' standout defense kept the Golden Bears from making a single bucket over their next nine shots from the floor during a span that lasted just over six minutes.
At that same point in time, Shawnee State's offense began to find its groove. Led by Nick Gouch (SR/Columbus, Ohio)'s five points from the floor in a 7-2 burst, the Bears would cut the lead to four before Stone hit a jumper with 6:10 remaining in the contest to push West Virginia Tech's lead back to a half-dozen.
Stone's jumper, however, would not slow the gargantuan effort from the Shawnee State side, as Moffatt and Tingle would team up again by scoring the Bears' next five points to cut the lead to a single point with 4:23 to play.
With the contest going without a basket in the minute following Tingle's jumper from the right wing, it was Dunston who would break through in a big way for Shawnee State, as the senior made his presence felt in a minute and 10 seconds.
After a timeout by the Bears, Dunston would pull on a jumper from 12 feet and bury the shot to give Shawnee State the lead with 3:23 to play in the game, then less than 30 seconds later, stole a pass and finished ahead of the pack to give the Bears a three-point advantage.
A Shawnee State foul that allowed West Virginia Tech to close within two points wouldn't shake the Dallas, Texas native as Dunston, operating from the left wing once more, drove the lane and used a power step to give the guard six straight points and extend the contest to a two possession game with the margin at 59-55 with 2:13 left to play.
Following Dunston's aforementioned burst, Carter's jump shot with 57 seconds remaining would prove to be the capper as the Bears took care of business from both the defensive end as well as the free throw line to sew the game up for Shawnee State.
In addition to the performances from Carter, Dunston, and Tingle, Ethan Moffatt would add a career-high 10 rebounds along with nine points, while Gouch added seven points and six more boards to head the Bears' efforts.
Shawnee State will use tomorrow to obtain a day of rest before the Bears take on rival Rio Grande on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at Waller Gymnasium. The contest will commence at 7 p.m.