PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – The Shawnee State men’s basketball program utilized 14 straight points from Devon Carter and Frederick Moore to erase an eight-point deficit and take a 61-60 lead with just 41.6 seconds remaining in Tuesday evening’s contest against Rio Grande.
However, on the very next possession, the RedStorm’s Corey Cruse would use an up-and-under finish through contact on the left block to draw a foul, finishing the and-one opportunity and putting the RedStorm ahead for good as the Bears fell by a 65-61 tally on Tuesday evening at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium.
Throughout most of the contest, both teams would play to a near-draw as Shawnee State and Rio Grande each shot in the mid-30’s for the contest, with the Bears shooting 35.4 percent for the game and the RedStorm shooting 37.5 percent from the floor.
While Rio Grande edged Shawnee State on the boards (46 to 41) and assists (18 to 12), the Bears’ ability to block shots (11 to the RedStorm’s three) and hit free throws (76.9 percent to 62.5 percent) allowed Shawnee State to stick right with Rio Grande throughout the contest.
The Bears would immediately jump out on the RedStorm to start the contest as Shawnee State came running out of the gates in making four of their first five shot attempts en route to a 9-0 advantage with 17:51 to play in the first half.
As the first half went on, the Bears’ lead would hold steady for a while as Carter and Nick Tingle would score four points over the next 8:51 to keep the advantage at nine – 22-13 – with nine minutes to play in the opening frame.
Rio Grande, however, wouldn’t take much longer to get its offensive attack going as the RedStorm – behind four points from Dwayne Bazemore – went on a 9-0 run from its own to tie the score at 22-all with 6:38 left in the half, forcing Shawnee State to call a 30 second timeout.
From that point forward, both teams would trade punches back and forth as six points by Ethan Moffatt were answered by the scoring abilities of Kevonta Black as the senior scored seven of Rio Grande’s next nine points to give the RedStorm its first lead of the contest at a 31-30 tally with 1:22 remaining in the half.
The Bears wouldn’t let Rio Grande run away with the score to end the half as Shawnee State tied the game twice off of a Carter free throw and a Tingle basket – the latter knotting the score at 33-all – with 46 seconds to play.
The RedStorm, however, would have the final answer of the half as in transition, Cruse found Travis Elliott open on the left wing with four seconds left in the half, and Elliott would bury the resulting trey to put the Bears down by a 36-33 tally at halftime.
Beginning with the 15:12 mark of the second half, Rio Grande would begin to put distance on Shawnee State as the backcourt duo of Black and Will Hill allowed the RedStorm to go on a 14-8 edge in taking a 55-47 lead with 7:39 to play in the game.
Carter and Moore, however, weren’t about to let Rio Grande waltz out of Waller Gymnasium with a runaway victory, as Carter added eight straight resounding points over the next 2:22 to tie the score at 55 aside while Moore would add five more points during a stretch of 1:05 to give the Bears a 60-58 advantage with 3:25 to play in the contest.
After Bazemore followed Moore’s final bucket of the contest with a layup nine seconds later, both teams would hold each other scoreless for nearly three minutes as both squads came up with one huge defensive stop after another to keep the game tied.
With less than 45 seconds left, Carter would create another opportunity for himself, as the senior drew a foul on Bazemore to go to the line, where the Clayton, Ohio native would hit one of two to give Shawnee State the lead back.
However, the RedStorm would respond. After a block from Jacob Daniels that forced Rio Grande to inbound the ball from the baseline, Bazemore would receive the inbound pass and make a high-low pass to Cruze, who would position himself on the low block and use an up-and-under finish through traffic and contact to give the RedStorm the lead, nailing the and-one opportunity to put Rio Grande ahead by a 64-62 count with 23 seconds to play.
The Bears still had time for one more answer. With less than 10 seconds left, Carter drove the lane and shot a one-foot fadeaway from around 18 feet. However, the shot would glance off of the rim, where a waiting D.D. Joiner would collect the rebound as Shawnee State committed the intentional foul to send Joiner to the stripe. There, the senior connected on the remaining pair of free throws to give the RedStorm the win.
Shawnee State’s efforts were led by Tingle, who recorded career-highs of 17 rebounds and four blocks in addition to nine points. Carter’s 15 points, four assists, and four rebounds would pace the squad in all three categories, while Daniels and Moore would add four and two blocks – with the latter adding nine points and four rebounds – respectively.
The Bears will receive two days of rest before making the trek to Mount Vernon, Ohio, where Shawnee State will play in the Cougar Homecoming Classic. At the classic, the Bears will face the host squad – Mount Vernon Nazarene – at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 and will then face off against Marian (Ind.) in a 1 p.m. tilt on Saturday, Nov. 14.