By DOUG EADS
What’s five extra minutes when you’re having fun?
And of late, the Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers basketball team has been having a great deal of fun.
After a slow start out of the gate to begin the season, Al Gover’s club has methodically begun the slow and tedious process of turning the corner in the inaugural year of the program.
After picking up a win at Boyce College last week, CU-Somerset returned home on Tuesday night at Somerset Christian School, and for the second time this season, Gover and crew won for a second game in a row.
Titus Ransom poured in a game-high 28 points, and former Southwestern standout Hunter Stevens tallied 15 of his 21 points in overtime, helping the Tigers slip past Huntington Prep Academy’s post grad team by a final score of 107-100 in a thriller.
“This was a tough team we just played, because they (Huntington Prep) had some very good players,” stated a very happy and relieved coach Gover, after his team improved to 6-16 on the season with the win.
“They presented some tough matchups for us,” Gover added.
The Tigers shot the ball at a very respectable clip in this high-scoring affair for much of the night.
In the first half, CU-Somerset hit on 17-35 field goal attempts for 48.6 percent, taking a 46-42 lead into the intermission, and did not slow down from there.
In the second half, the Tigers led the entire way, until a late rally by the visitors from West Virginia gave Huntington Prep an 82-79 lead over CU-Somerset.
However, Gover’s club would not go away.
Down late in the contest once again at 87-85, Ransom dished out a pretty assist to Keelan Kennedy for a bucket, knotting this one up at 87-87.
After the Tigers made three of four from the charity stripe for a 90-87 lead, Huntington Prep had the ball with a chance to tie.
And the visitors did just that.
With Gover screaming from the bench for his club to commit a foul instead of allowing a three-point shot attempt, Sean Smith’s long-range three-pointer with only :07 left in regulation tied this one up at 90-90.
“We needed to foul there at the end of the game when it was a three-point game,” Gover pointed out after the contest.
“We at least wanted to put them on the line, because in that situation even if they make two free throws, we’re still up one and with the ball with only seven seconds remaining,” added the Tigers’ coach. “We got screened out top, and never got back to defend their shooter, and to his credit the kid knocked down a tough shot.”
After Smith’s late-game heroics tied this game at 90-90 sending it into overtime, that’s when Stevens went to work with some heroics of his own.
Stevens scored CU-Somerset’s first 15 points in the overtime period, and scored 15 of the Tigers 17 points in the extra session.
And, he did most of his damage from the free throw line.
However– with the Tigers trailing in OT 92-91– Stevens’ second trey of the contest gave his club the lead for good at 94-92, and Gover’s club would seal the deal from there from the charity stripe.
“It was kind of depressing there in the huddle before overtime began, because we thought we had the game won and our spirits were down,” stated Gover.
“It’s on us at that point, and it’s on our guys to get ready to play the overtime,” Gover continued. “I told them they had five minutes left, and they needed to go out and play as hard as they could play. I thought when we went out for the overtime, we did a pretty good job.”
Ransom paced CU-Somerset with 28 points, Stevens added 21 points, and three other players hit for double figures.
Meith Reclow tallied 17 points in the win, AJ Thomas added 12 points, and Kennedy finished with 10 points.
Thomas– the Tigers point guard — was extremely impressive in the victory, stuffing the stat box.
The Fern Creek product scored 12 points, dished out 10 assists, pulled down nine rebounds, and came up with seven steals.
The Tigers — 6-16 on the season after Tuesday night’s victory — will travel to Miami, Florida this weekend, playing a pair of games at Florida National University.