JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- Even with a 42-percent shooting effort from the field, the Kennesaw State men's basketball team couldn't match East Tennessee State as the Owls took a 79-71 Atlantic Sun Conference loss on Thursday night.
KSU sophomore Delbert Love (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Edward HS) had the memorable night in the stat sheet, going 8-of-16 from the field and 4-for-8 from three-point land for 22 points, four assists and a pair of steals as the Owls fall to 3-22 on the year and 2-11 in the A-Sun.
The Owls never lead in the ballgame but did manage to dwindle a 17 point ETSU (9-18, 7-7 A-Sun) lead down to just four points with 12:38 remaining in the second half with a 9-1 run. Love hit the big three from the wing to start the Owl rally before senior Markeith Cummings (Birmingham, Ala./Beach HS) capped it off with a put-back two-hand slam to make it 51-47 Buccaneers.
But the Owl run was followed by a 13-0 stretch from the home team over the next two minutes to put ETSU back up 59-47 with 10:05 on the clock. Love cut it back to a single-digit lead for ETSU with another triple to make it 64-55 and freshman Nigel Pruitt (Potomac, Md./Bullis School) brought the black and gold within seven at 68-61, but ETSU responded with a three of its own to go back up by 10 seconds later.
Love again put the Owls within seven with another triple, but it was too little too late as ETSU hit a pair of free throws to take the 79-71 win.
The lone tie of the game came in the first half when the Owls answered a 5-0 ETSU lead with a five-point run to even the game at five in the early minutes.
Just before the half the Owls enjoyed an 8-0 run, six of those points coming from love on a trio of field goals, to take the 17 point Buccaneer lead down to just eight before a buzzer beating basket by ETSU sent the home team into the locker room with a 10-point lead, 41-31.
Pruitt finished up the game with a career-high 11 points while Cummings finished with 11 of his own. Freshman Jordan Montgomery (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Christian Prep) finished in double-figures as well with 10 points on a pair of threes.
Both teams finished up with 31 rebounds and it was senior Aaron Anderson (Tucson, Ariz./Central Arizona College) who lead both teams with his game-best 13 boards.
For the Bucs, John Walton earned a career-high 23 points as ETSU shot 53-percent from the field as a team.
The Owls will break tomorrow before traveling to Spartanburg, S.C. to face off against the Spartans of USC Upstate this Saturday, Feb. 16, at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Kennesaw State University