FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Shawnee State men’s basketball unit saw their season come to an end on Friday afternoon, as the Bears fell in the Mid-South Conference Tournament to No. 1 seeded Life by a 60-57 count.
The Bears would fall behind early and ended up trailing Life for most of the first half. The Running Eagles led by as many as 11 points, but Shawnee State outscored Life by an 8-6 margin to end the half in part due to a Tamal Watkins layup through traffic. Watkins had six points at halftime to lead SSU into the break. Poor shooting set Shawnee State back in the first half, as the Bears shot just 30.8 percent from the field, including 0-11 from three.
However, Shawnee State put together a frantic comeback in the second half. starting with Jayllen Carter’s hot start to the second half. Carter’s 11 points, along with Jacob Daniels’ and Frederick Moore’s big baskets during the stretch, allowed the Bears to cut the lead to one. However, Life would be able to push the lead back out to seven by the second half media timeout, 53-46.
The Bears wouldn’t go quietly and continued to chip away until Carter found Watkins for an open three to tie the game at 57-57 with less than a minute to go. However, Life’s Dalarian Williams would hit an acrobatic shot off the glass to give Life a two-point lead. Tamal Watkins would be fouled and go to the free throw line but missed both shots, and after Life hit one of two on the other end, the Bears would not get a shot off on the last play to fall 60-57.
On the ensuing Shawnee State possession, Tamal Watkins was fouled and went to the free throw line for a pair of attempts at the charity stripe, but missed both shots, and after Life hit one of two on the other end, the Bears would not get a shot off on the last play en route to falling by a 60-57 margin.
Jayllen Carter had 16 points to lead the Bears, 14 of which came in the second half. Frederick Moore had 12 points, and Tamal Watkins added 11 to help Shawnee State nearly pull off the upset.
Dalarian Williams had a game-high 21 points to lead Life. Zach Landis would add a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The loss ends Shawnee State’s season as the Bears finished with an overall record of 9-19 and a 2-12 mark in the Mid-South Conference. Life improves to 20-10 and will play in the Mid-South Conference Tournament Semifinals on Saturday evening.
The loss is also the end of an era for Shawnee State as Jeff Hamilton will step down as the head basketball coach for the Bears. Shawnee State’s associate head coach, Delano Thomas, will take over the program for the 2017-18 season.
For all Shawnee State basketball news, stay tuned to ssubears.com.