By DOUG EADS
After beating and banging on one another all throughout the preseason, the Campbellsville-Somerset Tigers went on the road on Thursday night to Union College, to take on the Bulldogs in their one and only scrimmage of the preseason.
And, head coach Al Gover had to like what he saw from his team for the most part.
Sophomore guard Titus Ransom scored 13 of his team-high 15 points after the intermission, Keelan Kennedy chipped in with 12 points, and newcomer Deion Finnison added 11 points, as the Tigers prevailed in the scrimmage by a final score of 59-47.
The scrimmage — whittled down to only 10 minutes in the second half — gave the Tigers their first opportunity to go up against an opponent, and the CU-Somerset squad showed some positive glimpses of what is to come this season.
Gover and crew led this one 39-27 at the half, playing some pretty good basketball in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Both coaches agreed to trim the second half down to only a 10-minute period, and it was homestanding Union that looked to take control of the contest at that juncture.
The Bulldogs began the second frame with a 9-0 run, to re-take the lead over CU-Somerset 38-37, but that’s when Ransom and company went to work.
Somerset responded to that run by Union, and that was a key takeaway from the game for coach Gover — his team faced adversity, and answered that adversity with a big-time comeback of its own.
“Our guys really responded there after giving up the lead to start the second half, and I was very pleased with their effort,” stated Gover.
“When Union started making its run and began to put some pressure on us there to start the second half and got us down one, our kids responded and fought back and regained their composure,” added the Tigers coach. “We made a couple of big plays, got the lead back, and kept it, so I was really pleased with that.”
The Tigers — in their inaugural year of college basketball last season — began the year by dropping their first 13 games of the season, but responded big-time by going 8-6 over the last half of the 2018-’19 season.
Last season concluded with a third place finish in the Christian College National Invitational Basketball Tournament, and Gover and company will be looking to build upon that this season.
The Tigers open the season next week, and the first game out of the shoot is going to be a monumental task for the Tigers, as they will host Marian University out of Indianapolis.
Last season, the Knights went 28-8 on the year and advanced all the way to the Final Four of the NAIA National Basketball Tournament.
The Knights come into this season without their top three scorers from that Final Four squad from a year ago, but nonetheless, Gover says this is going to be a tough opener for his basketball team.
“It’s a tough opener for us, but you do need to play good people early to see where you are,” pointed out the Tigers head coach.
“Hopefully, we compete hard and we play hard, and we’re going in thinking we’re going to win the ballgame,” Gover added.
The CU-Somerset–Marian University game kicks off the Tigers season on Monday night, October 28th at Somerset Christian School beginning at 7:30 p.m.