By DOUG EADS
After winning two of three in North Carolina over the weekend, the Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers returned home on Tuesday night seeking their third win in their last four games.
However, visiting Cleveland State had other ideas.
Maurice Dixon led a balanced Cougar scoring attack with 17 points, and Darius Turman added 16 points, as Cleveland State rolled out of Somerset with a hard-fought, 92-82 win over the Tigers.
“I know they (Cougars) beat us by about 10 or 11 on the boards at halftime, and they were just bigger and stronger than we were,”stated CU-Somerset head coach Al Gover after the game.
“I thought we competed, and we were still there right with them coming down to the end of the game,” Gover added. “You know, a couple of shots just didn’t go. Late, it was a 10-point game, and in today’s game, you make a couple of shots and you’re right back in it. I did like the fight that we showed, and we played hard.”
This was a back and forth affair early on, and although the Cougars only made two, three-point baskets in the opening half — after an 0-8 start from downtown — Cleveland State led CU-Somerset 44-38 at the intermission.
Those two three’s came inside the final two minutes of the first half of play that snapped a 38-38 tie, but it was two-point field goal attempts that allowed Cleveland State to garner the win in this one.
The Cougars made 17-26 two-point field goal attempts in the first half, which was in large part the reason Cleveland State was out in front of the Tigers at the intermission.
For the game, Cleveland State shot a torrid, 61.5 percent from the field on two-point field goal attempts, hitting on 32-52 shots from inside the three-point line.
“You know Cleveland State took advantage of their size, and that’s just the mark of a good team,” pointed out Gover.
“Most teams that we play are physically stronger than we are, and are usually taller that we are as well,” stated the Tigers coach. “That’s been a constant all year. Sometimes our kids can be in pretty good position, and just get overpowered in the lane, and that happened at times in this game tonight.”
Josiah Williams paced CU-Somerset in the loss with a game-high 24 points, and he helped keep the Tigers close in this one early on,scoring 17 of those points in the first half of play.
Titus Ransom added 18 points for the Tigers, Keelan Kennedy scored 12 points in the second frame to finish with 16 points, and AJ Thomas finished with 10 points.
With the loss, CU-Somerset fell to 4-16 on the season, and will attempt to bounce back on Thursday night.
Gover and company travel to Louisville Thursday night to take on Boyle College at 7 p.m.
CLEVELAND STATE — 44 48 — 92
CU-SOMERSET — 38 44 — 82
CLEVELAND STATE — Dixon 17, Turman 16, Young 14, Person 12, Walker 10, Wright 9, Hicks 8, Pratt 4, Fisher 2.
CU-SOMERSET — Williams 24, Ransom 18, Kennedy 16, Thomas 10, Reclow 7, Hurt 3, Coldiron 2, Owes 2.