COLUMBIA, Ky. – Playing up in Portsmouth, men's basketball beat Lindsey Wilson on its home court at the beginning of January. In opening weekend of February, the No. 4 Blue Raiders (21-2, 11-2 MSC) also took care of business on their home court, downing the Bears (13-9, 9-5 MSC), 64-51.
Ian Nixson led the Bears with a game-high 15 points while Tyler Morgan recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 11 points and 18 rebounds-which tied his career high. However, the Bears could not overcome a balanced Blue Raider offense that saw five different players score at least eight points, including 15 from Chris Bridges which tied Nixson for the game high.
The Blue Raiders took control about midway through the opening half on Saturday afternoon. After a basket from Andrew Devlin just under seven minutes into the game brought the Bears back to within a point, 8-7, Lindsey Wilson scored eight of the next 10 points to go up 16-9 with 10:44 in the half. That lead grew to 11 with just under four minutes to go in the half.
A pair of free throws by both Ethan Moffat and Nixson cut the lead to seven. Lindsey Wilson stopped the run with a basket that was quickly answered with a Morgan three t0 cut the deficit to six, 30-24, with under a minute to go. Just before the half, the hosts added on two points to that advantage when the Bears' bench was called for a technical that made the score 32-24 at the break.
Five points in the early part of the second half from Trevor Banks got the Bears to within five, 34-29, with 17:28 to play. Lindsey Wilson countered by going up nine, 39-30, with 16:27 to play. Nick Gouch would get to the free throw line just under the 16-minute mark and make 1-of-2, putting the score at 39-31. However, that led into a long scoring draught as by the time Nixson scored the next points at the 12-minute mark, the Blue Raiders had built a 52-33 lead.
The 21-point lead that Lindsey Wilson held before the Nixson basket would be their largest of the night as the Bears looked before make a run late. SSU would score 11 of the next 14 points, cutting the deficit to 11, 55-44, with 6:04 to play. However, Lindsey Wilson would stop the mini spurt and go on to win by 13, 64-51.
The Blue Raiders forced Shawnee State into 22 turnovers on the day while the Bears recorded just eight assists. On the other side of the spectrum, the Blue Raiders finished with 14 assists against just 12 turnovers. Contributing to the Bears' turnover woes were 12 steals from the Lindsey Wilson defense.
Outside of Nixson and Morgan leading the way, Gouch finished with nine points while Devlin and Banks each had seven.
Men's basketball will be back on the road this Thursday, January 7 it travels to Bluefield for an 8 p.m. start. The team will then be back at home on Saturday in the final non-conference game of the season against Wilberforce.