Raising the bar: (RV) SSU men clinch first 20-win season in 17 years

(RV) SSU men clinch first 20-win season in 17 years

Sweeping an archrival — twice — for the second year in a row during the regular season. Putting five players — including four of five seniors — in double-figures.

Those are all facts to behold in their own right.

However, winning 20 games in a season for the first time in 17 years? It certainly shows how talented DeLano Thomas and his Shawnee State men’s basketball program has been throughout the 2019-20 season.

For the first time since the 2002-03 campaign, Shawnee State can now lay claim to a 20-win effort as Justin Johnson, Tim Biakapia, Selby Hind-Wills, Kyree Elder and EJ Onu all reached double-figures as SSU proved to be the better of the two Bears with a 85-67 victory over Pikeville on Saturday evening to cap off Senior Day festivities in a positive manner.

Shawnee State (20-10, 9-7 Mid-South) posted, with the exception of its 95-59 blitzing of Lindsey Wilson on Jan. 9 in Columbia, Ky., its best offensive showing of the year as SSU shot an outstanding 57.4 percent from the floor, while Pikeville (20-10, 6-10 Mid-South) shot just 37.9 percent likewise.


  • In the second half, Shawnee State proved to be utterly dominant, as the Bears finished the half making an incredible 18 of their 26 shot attempts en route to posting a 69.2 percent mark from the field. Pikeville, meanwhile, was held to a lowly 29.7 percent outing in the final 20 minutes of action, and made just 11 shots in the second half despite shooting 11 more times than Shawnee State did in the second frame. SSU outscored UPike 52-31 in the second frame after being down by a 36-33 margin at halftime.
  • Shawnee State, again, did an impressive defensive number on its opposition by holding Pikeville to a 37.9 percent shooting mark for the contest. Jordan Perry (six points) was held to 11 points under his per game average while Luke Layhew finished with eight points and five rebounds, beneath his usual averages of 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
  • SSU proved to be stout with its ball movement, as Shawnee State posted 20 assists on its 31 made baskets. Pikeville, meanwhile, only had nine assists on its 25 made shots from the floor.
  • When putting four or more players in double-figures offensively (including Saturday’s win over Pikeville), Shawnee State is 11-2 overall. SSU is 9-8 when it puts three or less players in double-figures.


  • In the victory, Johnson and Biakapia were incredibly efficient in all facets. Johnson, who shot 10-of-14 from the floor, posted a career-high 22 points and added five rebounds and three assists while turning the ball over only once. Biakapia, meanwhile, poured in 19 points on only seven shots by going 9-of-9 from the free throw line, making over 70 percent of his attempts from the regular field, and posting eight rebounds and five assists without a single turnover. Together, the duo combined for 41 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists to just one turnover to prove to be a two-man wrecking crew.
  • Elder, who posted a 12-point, six-rebound, six-assist outing, was equally efficient, mastering the role of distributor while nailing several shots with a high degree of difficulty.


  • In his first game playing in front of his Mom, Irene Hind, Hind-Wills played his normal junkyard dog role, embracing the Senior Day festivities to the tune of 14 points. Fittingly, Hind-Wills didn’t miss a single shot from the field (5-of-5) or the free throw line (2-of-2) in the victory.


  • After posting just two points, two blocks, and a rebound in the opening half, Onu absolutely dominated Pikeville’s frontline in the second half of competition, posting eight points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks in the final 20 minutes of action to continue to add to his growing statline of denials. For the year, the 6-11 big has 166 blocks and 5.5 blocks per game to his name — which continue to pace the country as they have all year long.


  • Shawnee State earned the No. 4 overall seed in the Mid-South Conference Tournament, which will begin on Saturday, March 7 for the men in Bowling Green, Ky. The Bears will play No. 5-seeded Campbellsville (Ky.) in the MSC Tournament’s Quarterfinals. Game time is set for 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET.
  • For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club.

(RV) SSU men clinch first 20-win season in 17 years