Bears burn Blue Raiders, win 11th straight

PORTSMOUTH — Shawnee State seniors James Jones and E.J. Onu continued their outstanding seasons on Thursday evening, posting double-doubles and combining for 45 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists to lead 10 different scorers in a 90-70 victory for the No. 7-ranked Bears over Lindsey Wilson in a Mid-South Conference nightcapper at Waller Gymnasium.

SSU, which led for the entire duration in its 20-point win, posted another outstanding team effort en route to its 11th straight victory.

The Bears held the Blue Raiders to just 33.3-percent shooting for the contest, collected a plus-20 rebounding advantage (54-34), and were exceptional at sharing the basketball — posting a season-high 21 assists on 33 made baskets to set the tone in leading wire-to-wire.

In Shawnee State’s third victory in its last four meetings against Lindsey Wilson, Onu and Jones not only put up strong numbers, but were efficient in doing so.

Onu — who notched a team-high 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Bears — posted 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the first half alone.

The 6-11 big man went an efficient 3-of-6 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line en route to a 7-of-13 shooting performance and a perfect 7-of-7 mark from the charity stripe.

Jones, meanwhile, was otherworldly as Shawnee State’s main ball distributor again, notching 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds — while going 7-of-15 from the field.

The senior from Chicago, Ill. posted 14 points and five assists in the second half of competition — all without a turnover — and notched his 10 assists while committing just one giveaway.

The complete effort, however, went far beyond those pair.

Amier Gilmore, Miles Thomas, Donoven Carlisle, Latavious Mitchell, Shawn Paris, Jr., Jakiel Wells and Issac Abergut all scored between five to nine points while excelling in a variety of areas.

Gilmore’s offensive rebounding and passing (four offensive rebounds and four assists), Thomas’ on-ball and off-ball defense, Carlisle’s low-post positioning on both ends (seven points, six rebounds and two blocks on 3-of-5 shooting), Mitchell’s aggressiveness on the glass and ability to protect the rim (12 rebounds and two blocks), Wells’ steady ball-handing (no turnovers in 21 minutes), Paris Jr.’s second-half scoring burst (five points in six minutes) and Abergut’s hustle were all critical in the outcome.

Kobie Johnson also added three points in the win.

With the victory, No. 7 Shawnee State (15-2, 11-1 MSC) turns its attention to a rematch with Cumberland (Tenn.) this Saturday at 4 p.m. — as part of Mid-South Conference doubleheader action.

The Bears will look for revenge on their end, having lost to the Phoenix in Lebanon, 68-57, for their lone conference setback during this season thus far.

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