By DOUG EADS
Coming into Tuesday night’s game at Somerset Christian School, only one thing was for certain — Al Gover and the Campbellsville-Somerset Tigers needed a win.
Once again playing without four starters, Gover and crew was short-handed against visiting Welch College, but unlike last Saturday’s loss at Berea — a game the Tigers led by 12 at the intermission — Gover’s club put two good halves together.
Malik Lovan and Keelan Kennedy each scored 21 points to the lead the Tigers in this one, while helping CU-Somerset shoot a very respectable 47.9 percent for the game by hitting 35-73 field goal attempts.
As a result, it was Somerset getting a win it desperately needed with a hard-fought, 88-78 win over the visiting Flames.
“This was a much-needed win because we had lost three or four in a row,” pointed out coach Gover immediately following the game.
“When you come home you’ve got to protect your court,” continued the CU-Somerset head coach. “We had some lapses at times, but again we were a little shorthanded tonight, but the guys we had out there played hard enough to help us get a win.”
Somerset raced out to a very quick lead in this one, on top of Welch College 24-13 with about eight minutes gone by, but the Flames would rally.
Behind the long-range shooting of Spencer Smith who hit six three’s in the game for the Flames, Greg Fawbush’s club tried to fight to get off the mat.
The Flames trimmed that early deficit down to three points, but the Tigers would then get things going once again, holding the lead at the intermission over Welch at 49-43.
In the second frame, once again the Tigers built up a double-digit advantage, and once again the Flames would rally.
CU-Somerset would go up by a dozen points at 55-43 early in the second half, but the Flames would close that deficit down to 63-58 moments later.
Late in the game, after falling behind by double figures once again, the Flames were able to stay within striking distance of Somerset, thanks to hitting 13-31 from behind the three-point line.
With 1:54 remaining in the game, the Tigers were clinging to just a six point lead at 82-76, but a mini, 6-0 spurt late helped Gover and crew finally put the Flames away in this one.
Lovan scored on a nice move into the paint to extend the lead at 84-76, and then AJ Thomas and Antwan Hurt scored on back to back layups after a pair of steals, and that sealed the win for a Campbellsville-Somerset team that improved to 2-4 on the year with the win.
“We played hard enough and together enough to pull out the victory, and anytime you get a win that is very pleasing for sure,” stated Gover.
“I tell the kids all the time that I would rather see stats all across the board than just points scored,” added Gover. “AJ (Thomas) had 14 points tonight and 13 rebounds, and he dished out five assists, and if everybody is doing that by filling up the stat sheet, we’re a much better team. We’ve be really preaching to the guys that this is not about ‘me’, but it’s about ‘we’,and I think that is starting to sink in with some of them.”
The Tigers — 2-4 on the season — will return to action on Saturday, traveling to West Virginia Tech.
Campbellsville-Somerset will return home next Monday night at Somerset Christian School to face Crown College at 7:30 p.m.
WC– 43 35 — 78
CU-S– 49 39 — 88
WELCH COLLEGE — Smith 26, Ward 12, Brown 8, Rumph 8, Mitchell 8, Barnett 5, Pelleaux 4, Alameda 3, Justice 2, Charlton 2.
CU-SOMERSET– Lovan 21, Kennedy 21, Thomas 14, Owes 10, Hurt 8, McKee 6, Cofer 4, Knowles 2, Johnson 2.