After a nail biter of a first half, the Kent State Tuscarawas Golden Eagles used very active hands and feet in the second half to disrupt the PSU Shenango offense on their way to an 88-69 victory in Founders Hall Gym. With the victory the Navy and Gold broke a nine-game losing streak and opened up an early Christmas present going into the break. The Lions led 37-36 at the half before the Navy and Gold's relentless half court defense wreaked havoc down the stretch forcing numerous turnovers which were converted into easy baskets.
On the evening, the Golden Eagles forced 17 turnovers which they turned into 20 points. The Lions led by seven points early in the game when the Eagles struggled to just 2/13 (15%) shooting from the three point line. The scored was tied seven times in the first half and the lead changed hands nine times. Both teams ended the first half shooting more than 50% from the field.
It wasn't until the midway point of the final stanza that the Golden Eagles grabbed a 66-62 lead and went on a tear and lead by as many as 20 points. At one point the Eagles scored 17 straight and led 79-62. The swarming Golden Eagles defenders dictated the action at both ends of the floor causing nine late-game turnovers that led to layups on the the offensive end of the court. They also managed to knock down 9/10 free throw chances and shot 56% (19-34) for second half field goals as they took control of the game outscoring the Lions 52-32 in the final half of play.
Gunnar Tharp (East Canton, OH / Canton South) played 36 minutes and was very instrumental down the stretch as he sank four second half three point shots and finished with 25 points to lead all scorers. He converted on 9/17 shots from the floor and was a perfect 3/3 from the free throw line after getting fouled near the sideline while attempted a three point shot as the shot clock ran down. Malik Campbell (Canton, OH / Canton South) made 8/11 field goals to finish with 17 points, while Jacob Hicks (Canton, OH / Central Catholic) made 6/8 field goals to finish with 15 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The win improved the Golden Eagles record to 2-9 on the season as they got a much needed victory.
Luke Butcher hits the floor after poking the ball away from a Shenango player.
Santa Claus made a visit and even the officials got presents. (Photos by Memories by Lois)