The IUS men’s basketball team gained a lead on Berea College and never looked back Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the Athletics Building.
The Grenadiers beat Berea College 105-76 in ,what may have been, a coming out party for Kevin Mitchell, junior guard.
Coming into the game the Grenadiers’ leading scorer was Cameron Mitchell, junior guard, who was averaging 19.2 points per game.
This game however, his brother, Kevin, paced the Grenadiers to a blowout win. Kevin had a huge first half where he went 5-7 from three, and scored 24 points.
“I just played my role today,” he said. “Coach came to me and said I had to score a little bit more, so I took it upon myself to score more.”
The Grenadiers started off 3-3 from behind the arc, and Jake Simpson, sophomore guard, knocked down two early threes, which put the Grenadiers ahead 15-3 five minutes into the game.
The 3-point barrage continued in the first half where the Grenadiers shot 10-16, and took a 37-19 lead with eight minutes left to go in the first half.
The Grenadiers made a run before halftime, and it was only fitting, that Kevin Mitchell dribbled the full length of the court and shot over two Berea defenders to score at the buzzer.
The Grenadiers went into halftime ahead 55-35.
“Tonight we were on,” Wiley Brown, men’s basketball head coach, said. “My speech at halftime was there is no way we can come out shooting like this in the second half, but we did.”
It was the same story in the second half as the first play, Kevin Mitchell dribbled up to the top of the 3-point line and nailing his sixth 3-pointer of the game.
“Kevin played like I’ve been trying to get him play since he got here, and I’m hoping he don’t turn back,” Brown said. “He can shoot the ball, but he hasn’t showed it yet because he is trying to get everyone else involved.”
Berea gained a little spark as Tyler Huff, freshman forward, drove the baseline and skied over two defenders for a dunk that got a huge rise out of the Berea student section.
In the next play, Huff was fouled, but still managed to score on the 3-point opportunity.
In the end the Grenadiers extended their lead past the century mark, beating Berea with a final score of 105-76.
It was the fourth time this season that the Grenadiers have passed 100 points.
The Grenadiers finished the game shooting 54 percent from three, and 50 percent overall. Kevin Mitchell finished with 36 points, with a total of seven threes on 13 attempts and also added four assists.
“They keyed on me more in the second half,” Mitchell said. “But our offense keeps everybody involved, not just one player. If they guard me, they got to guard the whole team. We have a bunch of scorers, and we’re going to score the ball.”
By beating Berea the Grenadiers won their twelfth game in a row, and remain undefeated in conference play.
“We’re a team,” Brown said. “I made them believe that you can’t do anything without your brothers. When we play like that and pass the ball like that, it’s special to watch.”
The Grenadiers’ record improved to 18-3, after the win over Berea.
Jake Simpson added 17 points on 6-9 shooting. Simpson came into the game ranked eighth in the nation in a 3-point field goal percentage.
Cameron Mitchell added 10 points for the Grenadiers after playing limited minutes because of a hard fall early in the second half.
Cameron Mitchell is currently Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week. This is Mitchell’s forth time this season holding the position.
The Grenadiers rank third in the country in scoring margin and fourth in scoring offense averaging around 90 points per game.
The team will be in action again Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. when they will host Alice Lloyd.
By RAYMOND SHUTT