By DOUG EADS
On Saturday night, the 1-3 Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers had three starters in street clothes.
That didn’t matter.
On Saturday night at Berea College, the Tigers were the Mountaineers homecoming opponent.
That didn’t matter.
What did matter was the fact that Al Gover’s club– with a young and depleted roster — rolled into Berea and punched the Mountaineers in the mouth from the get-go.
Freshman guard TC Wright scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half, while sophomore wing Keelan Kennedy tallied 10 of his team-high 21 points in the opening half of play, and as a result, it was CU-Somerset owning a 12-point lead over Berea the break by a 39-27 margin.
However, that euphoric feeling would not last.
The Mountaineers exploded for 55 points in the second frame, hitting 7-12 attempts from behind the three-point arc, and as a result, it was Berea roaring back to post an 82-71 win over Al Gover and company, dropping the Tigers to 1-4 on the young season.
“Berea played much better in the second half,and I also think that defensively, we were just not near as good in the second half to go along with that,” lamented coach Gover, after his team fell to 1-4 with the loss.
“No excuses, we just didn’t get it done in the second half,” Gover added. “In the first half, I thought we were pretty impressive at both ends of the floor. In the second half, it was just kind of the opposite. You have to put two halves together at this level if you expect to get a win, especially on the road against a good program like Berea.”
In that first half, the Tigers — again playing without Titus Ransom, Deion Finnison, and Meith Reclow — took it right at Berea.
Wright hurt the Mountaineers with his quickness,seemingly getting to the hoop down in the paint at any time he wanted to for layup after layup.
CU-Somerset shot the ball at a very respectable clip in that opening half of play, hitting on 17-41 field goal attempts for 41.5 percent.
In the second frame however when Berea was seemingly everything the Mountaineers threw up at the hoop, the Tigers went cold; ice-cold.
CU-Somerset made only 1-16 from the field in the second half from behind the three-point line, and for the game, the Tigers were only 4-31 from downtown for an ice-cold 12.9 percent.
Berea meanwhile was 11-23 from behind the three-point arc for the contest, and that was basically the difference in the game.
“We’re definitely a better shooting team than what we showed tonight,” pointed out Gover.
“We’ve got some work to do when teams play a zone against us, and honestly we don’t see a lot of zone,” added the CU-Somerset head coach. “We were stagnant in the second half, we weren’t moving, and we didn’t get the screens set that we needed to set.”
“We just kind of stood around at there in the second half and passed the ball around on the perimeter, and we didn’t use the short corner or the middle, so we’ve got some work to do,” Gover stated.
Kennedy led the Tigers with 21 points, while Wright added 19 points in the loss.
AJ Thomas meanwhile played a solid floor game with 10 points and a team-best 5 assists, while Malik Lovan came off the CU-Somerset bench to tally 12 points, before leaving late in the game due to an apparent shoulder injury — just what the Tigers — already playing short-handed, needed at this juncture of the season.
CU-Somerset — now 1-4 on the season — will return to action this Tuesday night, November 19th for a home game at Somerset Christian School against Welch College out of Gallatin, Tennessee.
Admission is free, and tip off is slated for 7:30p.m.