SSU men’s team gets road win at Rio

Desmond Crosby, Jr.’s career-high 18-point effort, along with 12 points, two blocks, and two steals from fellow starting hand Justin Johnson and an additional 12 tallies from Selby Hind-Wills off of the bench allowed the (RV) men’s basketball program at Shawnee State to head out of Rio Grande with a 68-58 victory on Tuesday evening in a rivalry bout that was held at the Newt Oliver Arena in Rio Grande.

Shawnee State, who shot 24-of-55 for the contest en route to collecting a 43.6 percent mark from the floor, held Rio Grande to 31.6 shooting as the RedStorm were only able to hit 18 of their 57 shots from the field — including just nine of their 38 attempts from two-point distance. The Bears, behind EJ Onu’s game-high 10 rebounds to go along with five points, four blocks and a steal, also owned the rebounding advantage with SSU winning that battle by a plus-11 margin (43-32).

After trailing by a 15-8 margin through the game’s first 5:54, Shawnee State worked its way back into the bout by utilizing a smaller lineup in the first half. Justin Johnson’s three-point play midway through the half tied the score at 15 apiece, and Shawnee State utilized that punctuation — arguably Johnson’s best play of his college career — to go on a half-changing 20-9 spurt that gave the Bears a 28-24 halftime lead.

In the second half, Crosby, Jr.’s and Hind-Wills’ efforts were critical as the Bears maintained control. Rio Grande rallied back to take a brief 44-43 lead, but Crosby, Jr.’s shooting and Hind-Wills’ hustle plays in the post proved to be too much for the RedStorm to overcome.

During the second half, Crosby scored 13 of his 18 points on outstanding efficiency, with the sophomore going a perfect 4-of-4 from the field and a equally unblemished 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. Hind-Wills, who scored eight of his 12 points in the second half, added in five rebounds in 16 minutes off of the pine, while Johnson, again, came up with a critical three-point play with 1:16 to go after converting an and-one opportunity by driving and scoring off of his own steal.

In addition to the efforts of the quartet, Jakiel Wells added in his own big second-half effort en route to a six-rebound, four-point, three-steal statline, while Kyree Elder’s nine points and four rebounds and Tim Biakapia’s six points and five rebounds rounded out SSU’s standout efforts.

The men at Shawnee State will be back in action on Thursday evening when the Bears return home to play Northwestern Ohio. Game time is at 7 p.m. inside the confines of Waller Gymnasium.

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