The Kennesaw State men’s basketball team lost its final two away games of the season, falling 65-46 to North Alabama on Thursday, Feb. 20, and 69-55 to Jacksonville University on Saturday, Feb. 22.
With the pair of losses, the team moved to a record of 1-26 overall and 0-14 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Owls have lost 18 consecutive games since defeating Gardner-Webb University on Friday, Dec. 13.
For the first game of the road trip, KSU traveled to Florence, Alabama, to face the Lions. The Owls struggled offensively throughout the game, shooting just 34.8 percent from the field.
KSU fell behind early as UNA began the game on a 24-8 run that was finally broken with a jump shot from redshirt senior guard Tyler Hooker.
The Lions continued to dominate throughout the first half. With six minutes remaining, the Owls cut the UNA lead to 15 points after shots from redshirt freshman guard Jamie Lewis and sophomore forward Ugo Obineke. UNA responded by holding KSU without a basket for the next three minutes. The Lions held a 33-20 lead at the half.
“Offensively, we played back on our heels,” head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said. “Towards the end of the first half and to start the second half, I thought our energy defensively was very consistent and how we want it to be.”
UNA regained its momentum to start the second half, making a trio of three-pointers in the first six minutes to lead 42-23. The Owls failed to find answers on defense as UNA protected its lead. Obineke shined for KSU in the second half, totaling seven points in just 11 minutes.
In the second half, UNA outscored the Owls 32-26 after shooting 50 percent as a team from three-point range. Obineke was the leading scorer for KSU with 11 points, while Hooker contributed 10 points.
For the team’s last road game of the season, the Owls traveled to face Jacksonville. Similarly to the previous loss, KSU struggled to find an offensive rhythm early on and trailed early on.
Hooker improved from his performance against UNA, scoring 20 points against the Dolphins. Redshirt freshman C.J. Washington contributed with 14 points.
KSU’s first 15 points of the game came from three-pointers. After bringing the score to 21-15, KSU’s offense stalled to close the first half, scoring just 8 points in nine minutes. The Dolphins held a 37-23 lead at halftime.
The second half was evenly contested, as both offenses found a rhythm. Each team scored 32 points in the second half, and the Dolphins walked away with a 69-55 win.
Plagued by injuries, KSU had only nine players suit up against JU. Redshirt senior guard Bryson Lockley stepped up for the team, playing all 40 minutes with zero substitutions.
“Really proud of our guys’ effort and fight throughout the game,” Abdur-Rahim said. “Bryson Lockley playing 40 minutes like a warrior is something I’ll always remember and never take for granted. What he did tonight won’t show up in the stats, but he fought for us.”
Next up, the Owls will host the conference-leading Liberty Flames on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. For the final game of the regular season, the Owls will host the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 1 p.m.