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Kentucky Wesleyan def. Pioneers 81-64

Tyrese Duncan (#1) helps the Pioneers look for a defensive stop during their second half run Tuesday.
Tyrese Duncan (#1) helps the Pioneers look for a defensive stop during their second half run Tuesday.

OWENSBORO, KY - Campbellsville University Harrodsburg traveled to Owensboro to take on Kentucky Wesleyan in the Panther's opening match up of the 2020-21 season Tuesday. The match up is notable, as Kentucky Wesleyan was the site of the first game in program history in November of 2017. One of those original roster members, senior forward Devin Baker, is the only remaining player from that contest that was active for Tuesday's match up. 

The Pioneers would continue to be without starting forward Antoine Darby, who is expected to be cleared within the next week. 

CU Harrodsburg would find their offense early in the game, as they would trade baskets with the Panthers. After a back and forth beginning, the Panthers would pull away to a 16 point halftime lead. 

The Pioneers would reach into their reserves to find more offense in the second half, with a 10-2 run cutting the deficit to 63-58 with little more than six minutes remaining in the contest.

Ky Wesleyan would find their range from three in the final minutes of the game, mounting a 15-2 run of their own to end the game. The Panthers would hold off the Pioneers 81-64. 

Junior forward Chris Rawlins believes these early season lessons will help the team down the stretch.

"We can compete with any team," Rawlins said. "We just have to be able to compete for the entire 40 minutes."

Freshman forward Aamaj Platt had his most complete performance of the young season on Tuesday. Platt would post a season high 12 points in 14 minutes of action, on 5-6 shooting from the field. 

"This game showed we can compete, we can give anyone a fight," Platt said. 

As the Pioneers continue to take on the difficult stretch of their season in November and December, junior guard Tyrese Duncan is reminding his teammates what these games give the Pioneers. 

"We have to learn from mistakes in these games," Duncan said. "We can keep improving each and every opportunity. We just have to have the mindset to get better each time."

Pioneers head coach Austin Sparrow saw plenty to be proud of from Tuesday's performance. 

"I was very impressed with Aamaj's performance and his growth through these first few games," Sparrow said. "We had multiple freshmen have their best performance of the season this evening. Terrence McDaniels Jr. was another tonight."

The Pioneers won't have to wait long for another opportunity, as they travel to take on NCAA Division I member Lipscomb on Wednesday evening. 

"We have a very tough schedule, it is going to prepare us for March," Sparrow said. "I'm looking forward to seeing who continues to step up this month."