Pikeville, Ky. – Shawnee State Men’s Basketball defeated their fourth nationally ranked opponent of the season Thursday night, taking down (11) Pikeville 102-97.
SSU was impressive all around the stat sheet in the upset. The Bears shot 36-62 from the field for an excellent 58.1%. Shawnee went 4-19 from beyond the arc for 21.1%. The Bears delivered from the line as well draining 24 of 25 attempted free throws.
Pikeville managed 52.2% from the field on 36-69. From deep, UPike went 8-24 for 33.3%. The Bears converted on 17 of 19 free throw attempts to go 89.5%.
There was no shortage of scoring contribution from SSU, as five Bears put up double digits. Both Ej Onu and Justin Johnson finished with career highs, putting up 24 points each. Juwan Grant had a great night offensively as well, with 18 points and three key offensive rebounds. Austin Crawford finished with 13 points including going 8-8 from the free throw line. Tamal Watkins rounds out the five, putting up 10 points.
Pikeville was led by Jayvian Delacruz who finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Da’Rell Domineck had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Luke Layhew had a 15 point game while both Xaviar Gaona and Jovontae Carleton finished with 12.
The first half was a fierce battle for control with both teams answering each other’s shots back and forth for the first five minutes. At the 13:27 mark it was tied at 14 a piece. In the next three minutes SSU would go on a 5-0 to lead 25-20 after an Austin Crawford three pointer. The Bears held onto the lead until eight minutes left in the half when a Gaona three pointer gave Pikeville a one point lead. At the end of the first half, Pikeville was on top by just three with the score at 42-39 going into the locker room.
Shawnee took their first lead of the second half by way of an EJ Onu three at the 16:37 mark to make it 51-49 SSU. It remained close, both teams maintaining the same offensive intensity from the first half. With 13 minutes to play, a Gavin Brown free throw gave the Bears a 58-51 lead. SSU would lead by 11 with 6:28 to go and would hold onto the lead for the remainder of the contest, winning by a final score of 102-97.
The win improves the Bears to 14-12 on the season and 5-6 in Mid-South Conference play, also sweeping the regular season series over UPike. Pikeville drops to 21-6 overall and 8-4 in MSC play.
Shawnee State Men’s Basketball looks to carry momentum as they take on Cumberland (Tenn.) Saturday, Feb. 17 at 8PM