While recruiting another player in Cleveland as an assistant at Penn State, Preston walked away impressed with Love’s 24 points for the opposing team.
Kennesaw State’s first-year coach watched with pride as Love scored 27 points in a 104-67 loss at No. 10 Missouri on Thursday night.
“You’ve always got to make sure you’ll find the right guys,” Lewis said. “I think he’s a great fit here and he’s going to continue to be a great fit here for years to come.”
Markeith Cummings added 17 points and six rebounds for the Owls (2-6), who faced a top-10 team for the second time in school history and have lost four straight.
As Preston’s first signee at Kennesaw State, Love has topped 20 points twice in his first eight games as a freshman, scoring 22 points and adding eight assists while playing 46 minutes in a double-overtime loss to South Carolina State.
“Before I even committed here, he just told me to be confident, be patient, and it was going to come,” Love said. “I just feel comfortable. I know the recruits that are coming in next year, so I feel real comfortable. So we’re going to be good. It’s headed in the right direction.”
Ricardo Ratliffe and Michael Dixon had 18 points each and Missouri shot 60 percent.
Marcus Denmon added 17 points and Phil Pressey had nine points and 10 assists for the Tigers (10-0), unbeaten after the first 10 games for the first time since an 11-0 start in 1991-92 after running its homecourt non-conference winning streak to 65. It was Pressey’s third time in double-figure assists this season.
Frank Haith became the first Missouri coach to win his first 10 games since 1920-21. That’s one more than predecessor Mike Anderson, now at Arkansas, who was 9-0 in 2006-07 before consecutive losses to Purdue and Illinois.
Ratliffe was 8-for-10 from the field and Denmon was 8-for-11.
Love had 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the first half to keep Kennesaw State somewhat close despite committing 10 turnovers. The Owls made five of their first seven shots and led 15-13 just over 5 minutes into the game.
Kennesaw State last led at 29-28 with about 7 minutes to go in the first half.
Missouri began the game as one of only nine unbeaten schools, with the first nine victories coming by an average of 25.6 points.
Matt Pressey had 11 points in the first half for Missouri, including a dunk off a turnover after a nice feed from English.
Kennesaw State has beaten just one Division I school — Chattanooga — this season. Thursday’s game was the first of five in nine days for the Owls leading into Christmas.