GEORGETOWN, Ky. – In what was a back-and-forth game up until the very final minutes of overtime, men's basketball dropped its first conference game since November when it lost to Georgetown, 81-69. The Bears (9-7, 6-3 MSC) were up by three with 3:25 in overtime before the wheels came completely off and the Tigers (14-4, 4-4 MSC) scored the game's final 14 points.
Reigning Mid-South Conference Player of the Year and second-team All-American Vic Moses led five Georgetown players that scored in double figures as he recorded a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Andrew Devlin recorded his first career double-double for the Bears. He finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jeremy Bennington led the Bears with 23 points while Tyler Boyles also had 14 in the contest.
The game was tied at 11 different points throughout Saturday afternoon. The first half was just a microcosm of things to come as six of those ties came during the first 20 minutes. Throughout the first eight full minutes of play, neither side would take a lead larger than one possession as both sides saw the score tied at four different times. The most recent of those ties coming at 14-all. After Georgetown took the first two possession lead of the game, 18-14, the Bears rallied to tie the game at 19 with 7:03 to play in the opening half.
Georgetown would go on a 7-0 run to match its largest lead of the game with 4:13 to go in the opening half. The Bears would slowly chip away at the lead and a Devlin basket with one minute to go in the opening half would give the Bears a brief lead before a Tigers' free throw knotted the two squads at 31-all headlining into the locker rooms.
The Tigers made their second 7-0 run of the game to go up 38-31 to start the second half before SSU forced the seventh tie of the game at 44 with just over 13 minutes to go. The game would also be tied at 48 and 61 heading down the stretch. The 61-all score coming with 4:42 to play.
The ninth tie (61-all) came when Bennington made his second free throw of three after being fouled behind the arc. His third free throw would then put his team on top. After a defensive stop from the Bears, Boyles went to work at the other end and drew the foul. He would step to the line and calmly knock down his two free throw attempts to put his squad up by three.
With just 2:10 to play, the Bears had a golden opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the Tigers but missed three straight free throw attempts. Georgetown would make that hurt as Moses made a three on the other end to tie the score at 64 with 1:58 to play – the tenth tie of the game. Just 20 seconds later, Boyles would answer back with another field goal to put the Bears up by two.
The Tigers would go for the lead and three on the next trip down the court but Devlin would gather the rebound with 1:22 to play. The Bears have two chances to make it a two-possession game at the other end after an offensive rebound by Nixson but could not convert either chance and the Tigers would get to the foul line at the other end and make both, tying the game at 66 with 18 seconds to play. The Bears had a chance for the win but could not get the play going that they wanted and were forced to settle for overtime.
In the overtime frame, Bennington knocked down a three for the first points of the overtime. However, those would also be the final SSU points on the afternoon. In the final 3:10 the Tigers would score 14 unanswered to take control of the game that saw momentum swing between both teams all day long.
During overtime, Georgetown shot 5-of-11 from the field while the Bears went just 1-of-6 and turned the ball over four times. Both teams struggled from the free throw line on Saturday. The Bears shot just 44-percent (12-of-27) while the Tigers were a slightly better 20-of-32 (62.5%).
The Bears finished the game with 46 total rebounds, 22 of those came on the offensive glass. Nick Gouch and Devlin each had five offensive boards. Gouch finished with seven points and eight rebounds while Tyler Morgan came down with nine rebounds.
Men's basketball will travel to Wilberforce this Tuesday at 7 p.m. SSU will be back in conference play on Saturday vs. Bluefield. That MSC game will serve as the halfway point of the conference schedule and will be a part of Homecoming Weekend.