Starting a season off with a victory, putting four players in double-figures and holding your opponent to 37 percent shooting?
That’s certainly a way to open up a season.
The men’s basketball program at Shawnee State got a 22-point, five-rebound outing from EJ Onu, 18 points on five three-pointers from Dakota Prichard, an 18-point, seven-rebound, six-assist showing from James Jones and a double-double from Donoven Carlisle (11 rebounds and 10 points) in a 96-62 victory over Ohio Christian Tuesday evening in Waller Gymnasium.
The Bears, who are receiving votes as of the NAIA Preseason Top 25 Poll, never trailed in the second half of competition and led over the game’s final 30-and-a-half minutes en route to the 34-point victory.
In doing so, Shawnee State owned a plus-eight advantage on the boards (44-36), forced 25 Ohio Christian turnovers and allowed only five Trailblazer assists, and shot 47.5 percent from the field (38-of-80) while holding Ohio Christian to 22-of-59 from the field and 5-of-23 from the three-point line for the game — marks of 37.3 and 21.7 percent, respectively.
Onu gets out to roaring start
In Shawnee State’s effective platoon system, EJ Onu starred for the Bears, notching a game-high 22 points in just under 25 minutes of work while mixing in several powerful throwdowns via alley-oops.
Onu, who went 10-of-13 from the field, scored 13 of his 22 points in the second half to cap off one of the most efficient nights of his career — finishing just two points off of his career-high of 24 points set against Cumberland (Tenn.) and Pikeville (Ky.) on Feb. 7 and Feb. 14, 2019.
Jones, Prichard spearhead second half spurt
Jones, who finished 8-of-16 from the field en route to his 18-point total, scored 12 of those tallies in the second half and notched six of his team-high seven assists in the final 20 minutes of action, playing the role of main facilitator in doing so.
Prichard, meanwhile, posted an outstanding second half to notch one of the best performances of his career with the Bears. The Lima, Ohio native scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half by going 4-of-5 from long range.
The former’s quickness and the latter’s three-point shooting were huge in the Bears going on a massive 26-6 second half run between the 15:49 to 8:22 marks of the second 20-minute stanza that helped put the game away.
Carlisle notches strong effort
Finishing with six rebounds in the opening half, Donoven Carlisle’s effort proved to be huge in multiple facets. His 11 rebounds accounted for exactly one-quarter of Shawnee State’s total, while Carlisle’s offensive positioning and defensive positioning resulted in three dunks and a pair of steals that helped SSU claim a 38-32 first-half lead.
Kobie Johnson, a returnee from the 2019-20 version of the roster, added nine points and three steals in an efficient 11-minute effort off of the bench while Shawn Paris, Jr. (six points, four rebounds), Alex Schalch (four points, four rebounds), Issac Abergut (four points, seven rebounds) and Tre Beard, who notched a pair of free throws, all scored the first points of their Shawnee State careers in the win.
The men’s basketball program is scheduled to play in the Cancer Care Classic for the second year in a row this weekend, where they will take on the same opponents — Huntington (Ind.) and Grace (Ind.) in Winona Lake, Ind. Friday and Saturday afternoon. Game times are set for 4 p.m.
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