In their 2019-20 home opener, the men’s basketball program at Shawnee State put together a display to remember as the Bears took a 25-3 lead to start a nonconference matchup against Wright State-Lake en route to never losing the lead, put seven different players in double-figures, and scored 139 points in all to come within three points of its all-time record of 142 tallies as SSU was able to claim a 139-75 victory over the Lakers on Wednesday evening in a bout that was held in Waller Gymnasium.
Throughout the evening, Shawnee State could do no wrong as the Bears, who shot 26-for-42 in the opening half for a 57.8 percent mark, knocked down 26 additional attempts on 48 tries in the second half for a 54.2 percent hookup en route to a 55.9 percent mark (52-for-93) for the contest. SSU went a tremendous 21-for-23 at the free throw line (91.3 percent) and showed equal consistency beyond the arc by nailing seven of their 18 treys en route to a 38.9 percent clip from deep.
Of their 52 buckets on the evening, 28 of those 52 scores came of the assisted variety, while Shawnee State turned the ball over just 15 times likewise. Wright State, meanwhile, was held to a scant six assists as the Bears forced 27 turnovers — including 12 steals — and blocked nine shots as a unit en route to the 64-point win.
Throughout the evening, Shawnee State’s starting five of Desmond Crosby, Jr., Jakiel Wells, Kyree Elder, Justin Johnson, and EJ Onu certainly shined as the quintet helped the Bears race out to a commanding 25-3 advantage. They, however, got a big helping hand from D’Andre Price, Tim Biakapia, and Kobie Johnson, who produced in massive amounts off of the pine.
Price and Biakapia, who shared game-high scoring honors by amassing 19 points apiece, were efficient from start to finish — with both players combining for 10 of Shawnee State’s 25 points during its game-opening run — as both players combined to shoot a stout 13-for-23 from the floor.
Price, who went 8-for-16 from the field, grabbed seven rebounds while Biakapia, who added in a 5-for-7 day from the floor, led the team by going an outstanding 8-for-8 from the charity stripe and adding in four boards, three assists, a block, and a steal. The duo played just 20 and 21 minutes, respectively.
Johnson, a sharpshooting guard from Middletown, combined with Crosby, Jr. — SSU’s starting point guard on the evening — for 30 points and 13 assists while only committing two turnovers apiece for an outstanding 6.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio between the pair.
The guards also combined for six steals, with Crosby, Jr. obtaining four on his own, and were also strong from the field as Johnson, who shot 5-for-9 from the field, nailed three of his five three-point attempts and four of his five free throws en route to a 17-point outing while Crosby, Jr. posted 13 points, a team-high seven assists, and the four steals on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and 3-for-3 shooting from deep. Wells added in eight points and five assists while committing just two turnovers to allow the main guard rotation to collect 38 points, 18 assists while committing just four turnovers overall.
In the low post, Onu continued his dominating defensive displays by swatting away seven Wright State-Lake shot attempts — all in the opening half of play — while adding in 18 points and seven rebounds as well. The 6-11 junior is averaging 5.2 blocks per contest through the first three games of the 2019-20 season.
Behind him, Elder, Johnson, and Selby Hind-Wills were as consistent as one could hope, with Elder accumulating a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Johnson adding in 12 points in only 11 minutes despite dealing with early foul trouble. Hind-Wills added in six points and five rebounds to round out the strong forward rotation, while Steven Zimmerman (five points), Bailey Davis (four points), and Kyle Adkins (three points) also reached the score column on Wednesday.
With the victory, Shawnee State (3-0) will turn its attention to the Sean Elliott Memorial Classic sponsored by Jimmy John’s, where the Bears will play Midway and West Virginia Tech on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. The Bears play the Eagles at 7 p.m. on Friday evening, while a matchup with the Golden Bears follows at 3 p.m. on Saturday.