PORTSMOUTH – For just the first time this season, men's basketball dropped both if its Mid-South games in one week as the Bears (16-12, 11-8 MSC), were downed by No. 12 Pikeville (23-5, 14-5 MSC), 72-52. The game was the home finale for the Bears and before the game they honored the four members of the senior class (Jeremy Bennington, Tyler Boyles, Tyler Morgan and Ian Nixson).
Three players reaching double figures paced the Pikeville win, including a game-high 24 points from Jamar Briscoe and a double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds) from reigning MSC Player of the Week Trevor Setty. The Bears were led by Morgan and Bennington with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Morgan just missed a double-double as he finished with nine rebounds, as did Nick Gouch.
Right out of the gates, Pikeville started the game on a 16-2 run just 13:46 into the game. The Bears would cut that lead down to six by scoring 12 of the next 18 points over a five-plus minute span. However, back-to-back threes from Pikeville put them back up by 12. The guests led by as many as 17 in the opening half but a Bennington three right at the end of the first half cut the deficit to 37-23 as the teams headed to the locker room.
Four points from Morgan early in the second half got the Bears' deficit down to 12 points but Pikeville would go on a 7-0 run to help answer that and would eventually lead by 20 for the first time in the game with 15:03 left on the game clock.
Pikeville led by as many as 25 points with as little as 10:50 left in the second half. A 10-0 run by the Bears that included threes from Bennington and Nixson brought SSU back to within 15 with 5:09 remaining. The Bears were still trailing by 15 points with 2:47 to play in the home finale before Pikeville ended up with the 72-52 win.
Men's basketball is now tied for fourth place in the Mid-South standings with Campbellsville. SSU currently has the tiebreaker with Campbellsville via the head-to-head victories this season. However, one more regular season game remains. That game will be Monday at Rio Grande with the tip scheduled for 8 p.m.