Courtesy of Kentucky State Athletics
MOBILE, AL – As the wide open Spring Hill corner three-pointer was hoisted as time expired, the Kentucky State University men’s basketball team had bouts of déjà vu and the white-clad Badgers started to storm the court.
Last season, Kentucky State took the lead with eight seconds remaining only to have Spring Hill win it at the buzzer.
New year, new outcome.
The three-point attempt hit every part of the rim and was halfway down before popping out and the Thorobreds’ escaped the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center with the 83-81 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory Monday.
Spring Hill led for the majority of the second half, and led by seven points with a shade of six minutes remaining. Then, the Thorobreds start torching the net.
Seniors Ditalion Battle (Cincinnati, OH) and Austin Sherrell (Detroit, MI) combined for all 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. During the run, Kentucky State outscored the Badgers 19-6 to turn a seven-point deficit into a six-point lead with 31 seconds remaining.
The excitement was far from over. An offensive rebound and layup pulled SHC to within four, and a three-pointer after the ‘Breds couldn’t inbound the ball had the hosts trailing just 82-81 with six seconds left.
Redshirt junior Felix Wilson (Lexington, KY) split a pair of free throws, and Spring Hill had an opportunity to for the win or the tie. Rugged defense kept the Badgers from getting to the basket, but they were able to get off a potential game-winner.
Over the first 20 minutes, the two teams traded the lead 10 times with four ties. Battle scored all nine of the KSU points as the Thorobreds scored nine of 11 points midway through the first half to give Kentucky State the six-point lead.
Spring Hill quickly battled back to score 13 of the next 17 points for a five point lead, and the KSU deficit would be three as Battle hit a step back jumper as time expired.
The host Badgers held Kentucky State at bay for the opening parts of the second half. KSU pulled to within one possession three separate times, only to have SHC hit a big shot.
A 30-foot, fastbreak three-pointer by Battle jump started the aforementioned game-changing run.
For the second straight game, Battle – the league’s leading scorer – dropped 30 points on 9-of-18 shooting and 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. He added nine rebounds, four steals and two assists in the victory.
Senior David Jelks (Conyers, GA) played the entire 40 minutes and tallied a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds. Sherrell finished with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and nine rebounds, while senior Kevin Hayes (Detroit, MI) contributed 11 points.
Kentucky State (9-13 overall, 7-7 SIAC) preps for the SIAC’s Rivalry Week as the Thorobreds play at Central State 3 p.m. Saturday before returning to the William Exum Center 7:30 p.m. Monday.