The Kentucky State University men’s basketball team fell to the Kentucky Wesleyan College Panthers, 78-77, in a non-conference battle Tuesday at the Exum Center.
With the Thorobreds trailing by two points in the final seconds, KSU back-up point guard Devan Crain drove to the basket and drew a foul with less than a second left on the clock.
Crain hit the front end of his pair of free throws, pulling the Thorobreds within one point of Kentucky Wesleyan, but his second attempt was too strong and KWC snatched the rebound as the final moments ticked off the clock.
KSU (13-13, 10-7 SIAC) was in a position to tie or win the game in the final seconds because on the previous Kentucky Wesleyan possession the Panthers’ Rico Ferguson missed a pair of free throws with just six seconds on the clock that would have put KWC up by four points.
Kentucky State had a solid game offensively, shooting 45 percent from the floor overall but KWC (20-8, 12-2 G-MAC) was better, connecting on 54 percent of its shots from the floor. That’s the second highest shooting percentage by a Thorobred opponent this season.
KSU, averaging 62 percent from the free throw line, converted 75 percent (18-for-24) Tuesday.
Unfortunately for the Thorobreds, two of their biggest misses from the charity stripe came in the final seven seconds of the game.
Senior guard Antonio Sullivan led the way for KSU, dropping in a season-high 24 points. Sullivan went 7-of-12 from the field including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Sophomore point guard Quentin Henderson had 14 points and three assists. Brandon Darrett, who was double-teamed most of the night, finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Forward Darrien Wilkins had a team-high nine rebounds, five on the offensive end.
Kentucky Wesleyan was led by Lonnie Hayes, who is averaging 18.2 points per game this season. He poured in a game-high 26 points for the Panthers.
Big man Dominique Dawson finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
Kentucky State heads to Birmingham this weekend for the SIAC Championship Tournament.
The tournament will be played from March 3-8 in the Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex.