Balance, defense key SSU MBB win over MVNU

PORTSMOUTH — The Shawnee State University men’s basketball team put 11 different players in the scoring column, held the Mount Vernon Nazarene Cougars to 31.7-percent shooting, and outrebounded the visiting Cougars by a plus-16 margin (49-33) — en route to a stout 82-62 victory over an in-state rival on Friday evening at Waller Gymnasium in Portsmouth.

Shawnee State, which moved to 7-2 on the year with the victory, shot 44.9-percent from the floor — and 48.6-percent in the second half — while putting four players in double figures in the 20-point win.

The Bears led throughout the game’s final 24:57 and, after going on an 11-2 run at the end of the opening half, went on a 10-2 run over the second half’s first 3:07.

That allowed the Bears to build a double-digit advantage, as they added a massive 21-2 spurt from the 14:16 to 8:42 marks of the second half to put the game on ice.

Jones efficient

in all facets

Leading the charge with another impressive offensive performance, James Jones finished with yet another strong double-figure effort — en route to finishing as the game’s leading scorer.

Jones, who came into Friday’s contest as Shawnee State’s leader in points per game (20), notched his ninth double-figure scoring effort in nine games to begin the year — with many of his 19 tallies coming off his smooth pull-up jumper en route to an 8-of-14 shooting performance.

Jones also added three assists while turning the ball over just once.

Defensively, Jones played a major factor in holding Mount Vernon’s leading scorer, Jevon Knox, well under his season average.

Knox, who had 1,779 points for his career and was averaging 20.5 points per game on 56-percent shooting for the 2020-21 season coming into Friday’s contest, was held to 13 points on 4-of-14 from the floor.

Onu dominates glass

Just over a week after adding in the best overall performance of his illustrious career, E.J. Onu put together another dominating effort.

His career-high 19 rebounds allowed Onu to collect his fourth double-double in nine games, with the senior from Cleveland adding in 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting on an array of putbacks and flushes.

In the second half alone, Onu had a double-double, notching 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The 6-11 big man also added in two blocks to push his career total to 420.

He also has 1,168 points and 680 rebounds for his career.

Gilmore, Mitchell, Thomas

shine in SSU debuts

With their energy, it was clear that second-semester eligible transfers Amier Gilmore, Latavious Mitchell and Miles Thomas made a big impact, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

Thomas, who notched 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench in his first game eligible as a Tennessee-Martin transfer, posted 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the second half — while using his 6-6, 180-pound frame to disrupt passing lanes.

Getting the start in his first career Shawnee State appearance, Gilmore did much the same in notching eight points, three rebounds and two steals.

Showcasing outstanding energy on the glass, Mitchell notched five points, five rebounds and a block in just over 15 minutes of playing time.

Abergut, Beard, Wells

play effective roles

Behind a solid 3-of-8 shooting performance from three-point range, Issac Abergut joined Jones, Onu and Thomas in double figures with his 11 points — effectively stretching the floor while doing so.

The junior from Melbourne, Australia also added a pair of steals in the non-conference victory.

Abergut — along with Jones, Tre Beard and Jakiel Wells — were all critical from a distribution standpoint, as the trio combined for 11 of Shawnee State’s 15 assists.

The quartet turned over the ball just three times between them.

Next Up

With the victory, Shawnee State will enjoy a 13-day layoff before getting back to action and Mid-South Conference play on New Year’s Eve against Cumberlands (Ky.).

The contest, which will be the back half of a women’s/men’s conference doubleheader, is scheduled for 4 p.m. — with the women’s game preceding it at 1:30 p.m.

For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at and For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club or for sponsorship of specific SSU players or events, visit and