PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Men's basketball fell 90-71 at Pikeville Thursday evening in what was the Mid-South road opener for the squad. Pikeville (10-1, 3-1 MSC), who came into the game ranked ninth in the country, used a balanced attack that featured six players scoring in double figures against the Bears (4-4, 2-2 MSC) to pick up the victory.
Shawnee State got a double-double from Tyler Morgan, who finished with a team-high 14 points and 12 rebounds. His double-double was his fourth of the season. He has now scored in double figures in every game this season. His 12 rebounds was just one off his season high.
The Bears offense jumped out to a quick start with the help of two steals. A Tyler Boyles steal following the opening tip led to an Andrew Devlin layup. On the next defensive set, it was Morgan that came up with a steal. After a miss in the paint, an offensive rebound by Boyles kept the possession alive and he would find Austin Vance for three to give the Bears a 5-0 lead just 1:17 into the game.
Pikeville would tie the game at seven-all just under four minutes into the opening half, but a layup from Nick Gouch would give SSU its lead back. Pikeville would come back to tie the game at 11-all with 12:03 in the first half and took its first lead of the game as they added the free throw attempt on the and-one following a layup.
This came as part of 13-0 run as Pikeville took a 20-11 lead with 9:37 to play in the first after the Bears offense cooled off and could not find a basket for a five-plus minute stretch. Pikeville's largest lead of the first half came with 2:13 to play and the hosts up 36-24. On the Bears' final possession of the first half, Trevor Banks would drain a three to cut the Pikeville lead to eight, but the hosts still took a 37-29 lead into their locker rooms at the break.
A layup and three by Vance on Shawnee State's opening two possessions of the second half would help cut Pikeville's advantage to five, but that would be all the closer SSU could get on the evening. Pikeville did not go on any big runs during the opening parts of the second half but solid, consistent play led the hosts to as much as 24 point edge at two different intervals during the second half.
The first of those came with 7:30 on the clock with the score at 74-50, while the second and final 24 point edge came with 6:04 to play with the score 79-55. Pikeville then just had to wind down the clock before closing out its 88-67 victory.
The Bears shot 50-percent from the field in the second half and 40.9-percent for the game, but they could just not contain Pikeville which made over 59-percent of its shots, including a 7-of-16 mark from distance.
In addition to Morgan's 14 points, Vance, Boyles and Gouch each finished with 8 points. Banks finished with seven points off the bench, while four others added six points to the score sheet. Shawnee State did go a perfect 10-for-10 from the line in the game. Ian Nixson made all four of his free throw tries, while Boyles, Banks and George Hill each made their two respective attempts.
Men's basketball will now look to rebound this Saturday at UVA-Wise. That Mid-South contest is scheduled to get underway at 4 p.m.