CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – After watching the first game of the night go down to the final possession, men's basketball also found itself in a hard-fought battle against Campbellsville. Fortunately for the Shawnee State fans in attendance, they got two see two nail-biting victories as the Bears (13-8, 9-4 MSC) held on for the win over the Tigers (12-9, 6-6 MSC), 68-66. The win was SSU's second over the Campbellsville this season.
The Bears were led by double-doubles from both Tyler Morgan and Andrew Devlin. For Morgan, who finished with a team-high 18 points and 12 rebounds, his double-double was his MSC-leading 10th of the season. Devlin's 13 point and 13 rebound effort was the second double-double of his career. Tyler Boyles and Trevor Banks also reached double figure scoring totals with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Campbellsville was led by Vernon Payne who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Shawnee State was forced to play catch up early on in this game after the Tigers led by as many as eight, 18-10, just under eight minutes into the contest. The Bears would find their offensive momentum in Boyles to get back into the game. After four straight points from Devlin, Boyles hit three treys in a span of under two minutes to give the Bears a 23-21 lead. Campbellsville countered with a 5-0 run and the teams would find themselves tied at 30 with under two minutes to play in the half before a Tigers' basket gave the hosts a two-point lead at the break, 32-30.
Both teams would start fast on the offensive end coming out of the locker rooms as Shawnee State took a 41-40 lead over four minutes into the second half. Four straight points from Ian Nixson and another basket from Boyles would stretch the Bears' lead to a game-high seven points, 47-40, with 13:40 to play. As was the case all night, neither team could seem to pull away for good and Campbellsville would go on a 9-0 run before Boyles went hard to the rim, making the basket to tie the game. He would come crashing down to the hardwood and would not be able to return. However, Devlin made the free throw in his place and SSU took a one-point lead with 11:46 to play.
A Payne basket at the other end was answered with a three from Banks and the Bears would never trail again. However, they could never separate themselves and were forced to sweat it out over the final minutes.
The largest lead the Bears could produce in the remaining time was a five-point margin, 60-55, with 5:29 to play. Two Campbellsville baskets would bring the game back with one, 60-59, with 4:29 to play before Banks hit a pair of free throws to get the lead back to three. However, Campbellsville would also make a pair from the charity stripe on the next possession to make it a one point game with just over three minutes to play.
Devlin gave the Bears another three-point lead with a basket at the 3:06 mark but Payne would answer with a three, tying the teams at 64-all with 2:32 to play. Neither team was able to find another basket until there were 42 seconds remaining. Once again, Devlin came up with the basket, only to be answered by Payne and have the score tied at 66-all with 36 seconds to play.
In the final SSU possession, Austin Vance ended up with the ball and just seconds remaining. When he looked to possibly be trapped at the timeline with seven seconds remaining, Campbellsville committed the foul and sent him to the line for a pair.
Prior to those two free throws, Vance had not taken a shot on the evening. However, he calmly stepped to the line and made both of his attempts. With those seven seconds remaining, Campbellsville went right at the basket and drew a foul as the buzzer sounded, setting up a make or break situation.
The Tigers would have to make both of the free throws to send the game to overtime. The suspense did not last for long as the Tigers' shooter had the first rim out and the Bears were guaranteed the victory.
Shawnee State finished the game a strong 14-of-16 from the free throw line while Campbellsville went just 14-of-22 at the line. The Bears shot over 43-percent from the field (24-of-55), including a 6-of-16 night from three. The Tigers went 22-of-59 (37%) from the field and just 8-of-32 from distance.
Men's basketball will be back in action this Saturday against No. 7 Lindsey Wilson. That game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. eastern tip, 4 p.m. local time.