Kentucky State University men’s basketball dropped its third game of the year with a 99-85 loss to Malone University on Saturday evening at the Exum Center.
The Thorobreds (0-3) are in the middle of a five-game, seven-day stretch to start the season, and have come up short in two regular season games along with an exhibition. The Pioneers (3-1) have knocked off back-to-back SIAC opponents, including an 89-68 win over Central State University on Nov. 15.
“Tonight’s game is disappointing because of the way we lost,” said head coach Jamaal Jackson. “Guys are still not trusting the system and each other, and we’re four games into the season. We’re still making selfish errors that are costing us games, and we need to fix that quick.”
MU began the game in complete control leading by as much as 13 at the 13:00-minute mark. The upstart Thorobreds found a groove and started to make their way back on the comeback trail to a 39-37 deficit at the final media timeout of the first half. The Pioneers tried to pull away once again with a 10-2 run to the end the half.
The Thorobrettes stayed within striking distance, pulling back with two again in the second half off a 16-8 run with the help of junior forward Kevin Hayes as he accounted for eight points in the stretch. Hayes continued to be a difference maker for the Thorobreds putting them up 68-67 for their first lead of the game with over nine minutes to go. KSU stretched its lead to four at 74-70 but MU struck with a 13-4 run to get back on top and close the contest out in the final five minutes.
Hayes led the Thorobreds in scoring with 23 points in 34 minutes, matching his output against the University of Indianapolis just three days ago. Junior guard Ray Croon added 15 points while pulling down five rebounds in the process. Senior guard Dorian Jordan returned to action with 10 points, five assists, and four rebounds.
The Thorobreds will have Sunday and Monday off to travel to Ohio to faceoff with Tiffin University and Ashland University in Ashland on Tuesday and Wednesday, before the Thanksgiving holiday.
by Eric Mathews