This season for the Kentucky State men’s basketball team has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride this year. Coming into the conference tournament, the team holds a 10-14 record overall and a 7-12 record in the conference that doesn’t truly represent how this squad this year has battled throughout the year. To put this into perspective, when looking at the teams’ 12 losses in the conference so far only five of those losses were by more than ten points. The men’s team this year is very heavily stacked with upperclassmen who have led the way so far this season. They have been competitive and right there with an opportunity to win just about every game they played so far this season and a few games have not went their way. This is not to say that the talent is not there in any means. On any given night they are player to player on par with any team in the SIAC. The final game of the regular season against Central State was living proof of this.
The final regular season game for the Thorobreds was an instant classic versus rival school Central State. The student body was packed to the brim to support their Breds as well as many alumni. The women’s team put together a good performance and took care of Central State 60-45 to set the stage for the marquee match up. Seniors were honored before the match up as it was senior night for the Breds. Immediately from tip-off this was a game of runs as both teams took turns making major runs to keep the game competitive. Kentucky State came out swinging first starting with a 11-2 start with Central State quickly firing back with a huge 26-5 run which put the Breds into a hole. Like stated earlier though this game was one of major runs with Kentucky State making a 19-4 run to go into the half with a three-point lead with a score of 35-32 advantage Thorobreds. Going into the second half Kentucky State took control of the game holding gradually increasing their lead until it got to a game high fourteen-point lead with a little less than six minutes left in the game. As the game was starting to look like it was going to get out of hand, Central State closed the gap with a 17-3 run which brought the game back to a tight one with only two minutes remaining. In the final two minutes it became a free throw contest as both squads went down and shot free throws with Kentucky State’s Shaq Athie (Senior) splitting the first pair of free throws making the score 74-73 Breds up one. CSU went down and got fouled and they hit both free throws and the next possession, Grant Goode (Senior) splits a pair of free throws to tie the game at 75 with nine seconds left on the clock. As Central State looks to take the final shot senior Orlando Fikes took a charge to give possession of the ball to the Breds with 1.2 seconds left for one last opportunity in regulation. The Breds were “very well prepared for a situation like this one…” I was told by Junior guard Bradlee Lewis, as they had practiced a play for a last second shot in situations like this one had presented. Goode inbounded the ball and made perfect the full-court pass to senior Jordan Little positioned on the free throw line at the elbow. He caught the pass and was able to make the turnaround jumper to win the game for the Breds and the student body stormed the court in excitement in an ending that couldn’t have been drawn up any better.
The conference tournament starts March 2nd and will go through the 7th and the men will be taking be getting prepared for the first round of the tournament. Go Breds!!!