It had been a long tough haul on the road for the start-up Campbellsville University Somerset mens basketball team, as they had dropped their first six games of the season - and the program's history.
Last night in the Somerset Tigers' home opener at the Somerset Christian School Cougars Den, the hometown crowd had plenty to cheer about as Somerset overcame a 21-point deficit with a chance to tie the game at the final horn. Tigers' Titus Ransom had a three-pointer just rim out at the buzzer, as the Tigers fell to Campbellsville University Harrodsburg 86-83.
After former Wayne County High School standout Daniel Coldiron scored the Tigers first 11 points of the game, Somerset seemed in control of thew game. But things quickly turned south for the Tigers as they trailed 45-31 at the half.
Things got even worse in the second half, as Harrodsburg stretched their lead to 60-39 with 13:22 left ion the game. Coming off the bench, former Southwestern High School standout Hunter Stevens caught fire to score 11 points in a stretch of 4 minutes to cut Harrodsburg lead to only 7 points with a little of five minutes left in the game.
At the 3-minute mark Stevens buried a trey to cut Harrodsburg lead to six points.
With 42 seconds left in the game, Harrodsburg still had a rather comfortable 7-point lead, but that changed quickly. Ransom scored inside. Alvin Thomas made a backcourt steal and was fouled. Thomas made the first free throw and missed the second, but Ransom was there for the putback to put the score at 81-79 in favor of Harrodsburg with 28 seconds left.
With 6 seconds left Thomas rebounded a missed free throw and was fouled. Thomas hit both his free throws to pull Somerset within one point. Harrodsburg JaQuice Gray hit a pair of free throws to expand their lead to three points with 4.6 seconds left.
On the final play of the game, Somerset got the ball to Ransom at the top left of the key for an attempt to send the game into overtime and potentially give the Somerset program their first-ever win. But the ball rattled out as the horn sounded.
"I was really proud of our kids in the second half, but in the first half out effort really wasn't there," Campbellsville University Somerset basketball coach Al Gover stated . "In the second half, the kids we had in the game really played great. They played really hard, and that is al we can ask for."
Despite the Somerset Tigers dropping their seventh straight game, the heroic comeback effort and hustle on the court excited a packed Cougar Den, and could potentially give the new local program the jolt of energy they need for the rest of the collegiate season.
"This game was a boost for our kids," Gover said. "You see the crowd gets behind them when they play hard. I told them you got to give the crowd something they want to come back for, and if you play hard they will come back and cheer for you. I think the second half showed the crowd here, this team is going to play hard, we are going to do things right. We may not win'em all but we are going to play hard."
Somerset was led in scoring by Daniel Coldiron and Titus Ransom with 19 points each, as Coldiron had a team-high three treys. Hunter Stevens scored 18 points, all in the second half, and had two treys. Former Briar Jumper Jake Cothron had 4 points. Alvin Thomas had 10 points, Josiah Williams had 7 points, Mykal Hampton had 4 points, and Keelan Kennedy had 2 points.
For Harrodsburg, JaQuice Gary had a game-high 25 points, and Shadarno Clarke had 21 points.
Somerset (0-7) will travel to Cincinnati Clermont on Monday, Dec. 17.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.