SSU men’s comeback falls just short

PORTSMOUTH —The men’s basketball program at Shawnee State turned a 21-point second-half deficit with 15 minutes left into a one-point, 76-75, deficit with 17 seconds left to play, but couldn’t claim victory as the Bears fell to Lindsey Wilson, 80-75, in a Mid-South Conference matchup on Saturday evening in Portsmouth.

Shawnee State (17-9, 6-6 Mid-South Conference) posted a massive plus-20 rebounding advantage over Lindsey Wilson in the contest (45-25) and collected 15 assists on 26 made baskets, but were held to a 38.8-percent shooting mark while the Blue Raiders (17-9, 6-6 MSC) shot 43.3-percent from the floor.

Lindsey Wilson also turned the ball over just 10 times while Shawnee State was forced into 14 misplays.

Down 44-26 after being held to 31.3 percent from the field, turning the ball over nine times and allowing Lindsey Wilson to shoot 47.2-percent from the floor in the opening half of competition, Shawnee State — after trailing by as many as 21 points (58-37, 15:04 2nd) — turned things around in the final 15 ticks by valuing possessions.

After gradually working the deficit down inside the 20-point plateau, SSU — behind the production of Tim Biakapia — furiously rallied its way back into the contest as the Bears used a 21-8 run, with the Maryland native scoring 10 points during the spurt on his own to cut the Lindsey Wilson lead to a 66-58 lead.

Kameron Mack answered on the enusing possession with a three-pointer for Lindsey Wilson, but an and-one inside by Justin Johnson put SSU within single digits for the remainder of the contest.

Following Johnson’s free throw, SSU made each of their next six foul shots from the charity stripe, then — with 2:24 remaining — got a bucket inside from Shelby Hind-Wills off of a Kyree Elder look to pull within 72-70.

Both teams traded conversions at both ends of the floor all the way to the final 30 seconds, where the Bears, down 76-74 with 29 seconds left, obtained a stop and drew a foul call to obtain a double-bonus opportunity.

However, SSU was only able to come away with one point on the trip, and following a foul and two Reece Brooks makes, the Bears turned the basketball over which allowed Lindsey Wilson’s Avery Edwards to seal the game’s result with a pair of free throws.

For the contest, E.J. Onu led the way with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks while shooting 6-of-10 from the floor for Shawnee State, while Biakapia added 18 points and 11 rebounds on an identical 6-of-10 shooting stroke.

Elder added 13 points while Johnson posted 11 points, four rebounds and three assists for SSU in the loss.

Brooks’ game-high 26 points was followed by 22 each from Mack and Payton Cundiff.

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