OWENSBORO, Ky. – Josh Gibson picked up his first coaching win at the NCAA Division II level as the Urbana University men’s basketball team edged Kentucky Wesleyan, 56-53, on Saturday at The Sportscenter.
UU (1-2) didn’t lead until 3:44 remaining when sophomore Kyle Kegley’s putback gave the Blue Knights a 50-49 advantage. Then, freshman Shaunn Monroe’s steal and fastbreak bucket with 48 seconds left put UU in front for good, as freshman Tehree Horn sealed the win with free throws in the final seconds. Monroe also drew a charge and blocked a shot during the late surge.
The Blue Knights trailed by as much as 11 in the second half when the host Panthers led 41-30 with 11 minutes left. However, a three-point play from senior Jordan Bradley followed by threes from Horn and Monroe quickly made it a two-possession game.
Bradley led with a game-high 17 points including 12 in the first half, while Horn and Monroe scored 13 and 10, respectively, all in the second half. Freshman Mario Lacy Jr. grabbed a team-high five rebounds and dished out a team-best four assists to go with four points. Kegley had five points, four boards and three steals.
Overcoming a rough shooting performance, UU finally found its rhythm and used a 17-6 run over the final seven-plus minutes.
The Blue Knights shot just 34 percent overall and 36 percent from three-point range (9-25) while outrebounding the hosts, 31-26. UU had only two turnovers in the second half to aid the comeback effort.
Wesleyan (0-2) was led by Mohamed Abu Arisha’s 17 points and seven boards. Jo Griffin (12) and Tyler Bezold (11) also reached double figures.
The Panthers shot 49 percent overall, including 55 percent in the second half, but the hosts went 3 of 9 from the floor with a pair of crucial turnovers during UU’s late run.
The first half featured a pair of scoring runs from both sides.
Wesleyan raced out to a 10-0 lead, but Bradley responded with seven points to spark a 10-0 run for UU. The Blue Knights went on another drought as the Panthers strung together an 11-0 spurt for a 21-10 margin, but again UU answered to get within five, 25-20, at the intermission.
UU travels to a pair of local non-conference foes this week with matchups against Central State tonight and Wright State on Wednesday. The Blue Knights will open conference play on Saturday at home against nationally-ranked West Liberty at 4 p.m.