Bears stun No. 19 Blue Raiders

As a whole, there are always going to be team performances that are high quality.

However, there are certain performances that are so good, they can stun the fans of opposing teams into silence.

The men’s basketball program did just that on Thursday evening in Columbia, as Shawnee State imposed its will in a Mid-South Conference contest against No. 19 Lindsey Wilson right from the outset by placing all 11 of its players in the scoring column, dishing out 20 assists on 38 made shots, shooting 58.5 percent from the field, and outrebounding the Blue Raiders by a massive 51-26 count (plus-25) in a shocking 95-59 blowout at Biggers Sports Center in Columbia, Ky. on Thursday evening.

In addition to their outstanding offense performance, the Bears (13-5, 3-2 Mid-South Conference) kept up their defensive prowess on Thursday evening by holding the Blue Raiders (12-6, 1-3 Mid-South Conference) to a 21-of-61 shooting mark (34.4 percent) from the field in the contest.

From the 17:25 mark of the first half on forward, Shawnee State never trailed as the Bears, trailing by a 5-4 margin, got seven quick points from Kyree Elder to turn the tables early and held Lindsey Wilson to two field goals over a span of 6:28 to give SSU a 18-10 advantage.

By that point, four Shawnee State players had already scored behind an effective platoon system that featured excellent ball movement from start to finish between the first and second units. Jakiel Wells, who ran the first unit, and Desmond Crosby, Jr., who controlled the play for the second five, combined for 17 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists while only turning the ball over twice — allowing SSU to keep the ball hopping around the floor as the Bears built their lead.

With 8:19 to play in the opening half, a three-pointer by Selby Hind-Wills pushed Shawnee State’s lead to a 28-17 margin, while EJ Onu added a finish through contact and Elder posted a pair of free throws to put the Bears up by 13, 32-19, with 6:31 to play.

Lindsey Wilson closed SSU’s lead to 36-30 with 2:40 left, but an and-one finish by Elder on the right side of the rim put SSU back up by nine just four seconds later and allowed the Bears to push their lead out over the remainder of the contest, with Elder adding in another bucket inside off of a pass up ahead from Crosby, Jr., Ermias Nega adding in a deep three from 26 feet on the right side with 56 seconds left, and Justin Johnson scoring off of a clever slip and score with 1.8 seconds left off of an inbound pass from Wells to put SSU up by a 46-35 margin as the first half buzzer went off.

Out of the break, Hind-Wills got the scorching second-half started for Shawnee State as the senior, after a two-minute, 15-second scoring lull to begin the second half, knocked down back-to-back three-point attempts from nearly the identical spot to put the Bears ahead by a 52-35 count with 16:55 to go, forcing a Lindsey Wilson timeout.

That timeout, however, did nothing to slow down Shawnee State’s onslaught. Reece Brooks and Payton Cundiff each collected buckets for Lindsey Wilson to cut the deficit slightly to 54-40 with 15:31 to play, but the Bears, from that point on forward, turned up the heat in a ridiculous fashion by getting buckets from four different players — including five straight points from Crosby, Jr. — during a 14-0 SSU run where the Bears also held the Blue Raiders scoreless for five minutes and 29 seconds.

SSU added in a 14-2 spurt from the 9:13 to 5:13 marks of the second half to increase the lead to a 86-49 margin before subbing freely as the Bears put the game on ice for good in the contest.

Elder, who posted 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 27 minutes on 7-of-12 shooting, and Johnson, who posted 19 points and four rebounds in just 17 minutes off of the bench on 7-of-10 shooting, led the way for Shawnee State, with Wells joining them in double-figures with 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists while shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and only committing one turnover in the contest.

Behind them, Onu (10 rebounds, nine points, five blocks) and Hind-Wills (nine points, five rebounds) controlled the paint defensively with their hustle and length, while Crosby, Jr. (seven points, three assists), D’Andre Price (seven points, six rebounds), Tim Biakapia (six points, five rebounds) and Dakota Prichard (five points) all were efficient and steady in multiple aspects. Nega (three points) and Bailey Davis (two points) rounded out the scoring for the Bears.

The Bears will face Campbellsville, who defeated No. 5 Pikeville on Thursday (72-66), in a Mid-South Conference that will be held in Campbellsville on Saturday afternoon. Game time will be held at 4 p.m.

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