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Men’s Basketball Goes Undefeated in Thanksgiving Classic

Malek Harris, Staff Writer

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A few weekends ago, our men’s basketball program at KWC hosted their annual Thanksgiving Classic Holiday Tournament. The tournament featured three other teams: Delta State, Lake Superior State, and Shorter University. Friday night, the Panthers were set to play Shorter University and Saturday, held Delta State as our second opponent of the weekend. I am a part of the men’s team here at Kentucky Wesleyan, and unfortunately, I was not able to participate in the games due to an injury. Therefore, I was able to enjoy the weekend as a fan of the game, and I had a good time supporting and rooting on our team. The Thanksgiving Classic was a great event with much talent and competition.

It was Friday night and we knew Shorter would come ready to play, considering we usually get everyone’s best shot, especially when playing at the Sports Center. Although it was Thanksgiving Weekend and most students were with their families, we were still able to get a decent crowd into the gym. We knew that to have a successful night, we had to play as hard as possible and be the aggressors. We didn’t start the game off the best, but we took care of business and jumped to an early lead that we were able to hold. We were confident that if we guarded and stayed focused for the full 40 minutes, that we were the better team. Great contributions came from Brandon Hatton, Evan Milligan, and Amir Warnock. Hatton finished the game with a season high of 24 points, knocking in three after three. He led the way offensively with his ability to score the basketball. Milligan tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds, recording the first double-double (double digits in two different categories) of the season for him. Warnock followed behind him and scored 14 points and grabbed down 10 rebounds. His presence and energy close to the rim does so much for our basketball team on both ends of the floor. The rest of the time added to the standout play and the Panthers were able to get the win, 88-78 over Shorter University. The win was a positive push to end off the weekend undefeated in the tournament.

The next opponent was Delta State. We started the day scouting the team, learning every player’s personnel and the team’s personnel as well. It was a game that we knew we would have to throw the first punch and our guys did just that. The team was able to jump out to an early lead, wreaking havoc defensively and getting steals that turned into points on the scoreboard. The nagging defense caused the Statesmen to be held to 17% shooting for the game. The play of Rashiede Bell and Evan Milligan also helped the team get momentum to play in solid fashion. Bell recorded 19 points, shooting 66% from the field. Bell’s shot-making ability and poise really played a role in his great game that night. Milligan tallied 14 points in just 26 minutes. Milligan’s spark off the bench has been something our team has relied on every game, and he has been doing more than just his role. His play not only against Delta State, but in the recent stretch of play, has helped us in our success. We were able to win big against Delta State. The final score was 74-44. Therefore, our team ended the Thanksgiving Classic Holiday Tournament 2-0, which is the sum of a successful weekend.

Our men’s basketball season took a wild turn when it was just announced that Happy Osborne would no longer be the head coach at the school. We never thought that we would lose our head in an already rough time for the team, and it really took a toll on many of our guys. With all the adversity taken place, to go into this Thanksgiving Holiday tournament and go 2-0 was special for our team and for our coaches left to coach us. Any win is a good win; any win is a big win. I am especially proud of our team because through everything thrown at them, they have not complained. They have worked their tails off to be the best players that they can be. I truly believe with great energy and faith, anything can be accomplished. These few wins at such a hard time, makes me happy and blessed to be a part of the team and I did not even play. I am proud of our team. It was a very successful weekend.

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Men’s Basketball Goes Undefeated in Thanksgiving Classic