By DOUG EADS
Head coach Al Gover and the Campbellsville-Somerset University Tigers simply can not get a break — unless it’s a bone to one of the Tigers players.
With the news that leading scorer Keelan Kennedy had been lost for the season with a torn Achillies injury, Gover and the Tigers took to the court on Saturday afternoon once again playing with a depleted roster, only dressing eight players.
And, visiting Mississippi Women’s College took full advantage.
Despite a valiant effort, Gover and the Tigers succumbed to fatigue in the second half, eventually falling to the visiting Owls by a final score of 99-86, falling to 5-12 on the season.
“I’m proud of the people that we had out there today, and I’m very proud of the effort,” stated coach Gover immediately following the contest.
“You could see in the second half that we just didn’t have the giddy up in our step like we did in the first half,” lamented the Tigers head coach. “That comes from playing 39 to 40 minutes, and in a college basketball game, you just can’t do that.”
With starting center Meith Reclow — who has only played one game this season — out again due to various reasons — Gover and the Tigers had to play for much of the game with five guards, due to an early injury to center Deion Finnison.
Finnison scored eight points early on and was playing very well, but he left the game barely 10 minutes into the contest after taking a hard hit to his head against the floor.
Still, the Tigers were more than holding their own.
CU-Somerset led by as many as 14 points in the first half at 34-20, but with five guards on the floor being forced to play for much of the game due to that severe lack of depth, UMW took advantage.
The Owls took their first lead of the contest with just over 15 minutes left in the game at 54-53, and Gover’s club could never get over the proverbial hump to get back out in front after relinquishing the lead.
The Owls shot 55.2 percent from the field in the second half, hitting on 16-29 field goal attempts, taking advantage of CU-Somerset’s fatigue which was setting in, along with a big-time size advantage on the interior.
“We do have some injuries right now, but we’ve got some situations where it’s just a lack of responsibility,” pointed out coach Gover.
“If we could put everybody together and have everybody take care of their business, we would be a pretty good team in my opinion,” added the Tigers coach. “However, until some of our guys do the things they need to do, we’re going to continue to struggle with a lack of depth.”
Tavonta Jones led the Owls in the win, as he scored a game-high 32 points for UMW, while Tre Pinkston added 16 points and Milos Zeradjanin scored 13 of his 15 points for the game in the second half.
Meanwhile, CU-Somerset got a team-high 25 points from freshman guard TC Wright, while AJ Thomas added 20 points.
Sophomore guard Antwan Hurt also hit for double figures in the loss for the Tigers with 11 points.
CU-Somerset — 5-12 on the season — will return to action on Monday night, going on the road to Knoxville to square off against Crown College.
The Tigers will return home on Saturday afternoon, January 25th at Somerset Christian School to take on the University of Cincinnati-Clermont.
That game is slated to tip off at 1 p.m. Admission to the game is FREE!