By DOUG EADS
When Al Gover and the Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers took to the road for the first time of the young season last weekend, the local team left almost half of its roster at home.
Missing two starters — Keelan Kennedy and Titus Ransom — along with some other key reserves, Gover and the Tigers found themselves in deep trouble late in the contest.
Playing at Boyce College in Louisville, CU-Somerset trailed the Bulldogs by 12 points with just under eight minutes left in the game.
No worries however, Gover’s club — albeit with a depleted lineup for this contest — refused to fold.
Freshman Deion Finnison poured in a team-high 21 points, while freshman guard TC Wright added 19 points, helping the Tigers get off the mat to rally for a thrilling, 91-90 win over the Bulldogs, to even their record to 1-1 on the season with a big-time win.
“We had some kids step up and make some big plays on Saturday,” pointed out coach Gover.
“We had some kids out for that game, but I told the kids that we had that this was their opportunity to set up, and they did just that,” continued the CU-Somerset head coach. “Now, we know that we have some kids that are on our bench that when we need them to step up and make a contribution, they have proven they are capable.”
The Tigers — missing six players — only trailed Boyce College 45-42 at the intermission, however the Bulldogs attempted to put Gover’s club away in the second half.
CU-Somerset trailed in this one by double figures for much of the second half, but the Tigers would not go away, rallying several times from double-deficit deficits.
Gover’s club hit on 7 of 25 attempts from behind the three-point arc for the contest, but the Tigers made their hay down in the paint, outscoring Boyce by a whopping, 54-38 margin inside, which enabled CU-Somerset to stay within striking distance of Boyce College.
“I was very disappointed in our season opener against Marian in the fact that I didn’t think we competed in the second half of that game,” Gover stated.
“At Boyce College, we faced a ton of adversity, but we kept competing,” added the Tigers coach. “It was their season opener, they had a full gym, and a very loud crowd right on top of us, so our kids had a lot to overcome, but they never quit competing hard, and they overcame it all. Anytime you can get a big win like that on the road, it’s a nice win indeed.”
TJ Owes added 13 points in the win for CU-Somerset, while Kenyan McKee added 12 points, and Trevon Cooper chipped in with 10 points.
CU-Somerset — 1-1 on the season — will return to action this weekend, playing in the Bluefield State Classic in West Virginia.
The Tigers will face Bryant and Stratton College in their first game of that event on Friday night.
CU-S 42 49 — 91
BC 45 45 — 90
CU-SOMERSET — Finnison 21, Wright 19, Owes 13, McKee 12, Cooper 10, Johnson 9, Thomas 5, Hurt 2.
BOYCE COLLEGE — Benham 26, Nauert 15, Kirby 10, Billings 10, Alexakos 10, Quinley 5, I. Gibson 5, Crawford 5, Turner 2, Kays 1, J. Gibson 1.