Tornado Welcome Augusta State to Student Center, 7pm Saturday

*photo courtesy of Katie Bowles
*photo courtesy of Katie Bowles

King Tornado 
(7-2, 1-0 Conference Carolinas)


Augusta State Jaguars
(2-3, 0-1 Peach Belt)

Game notes
Live video

Game 10  |  Dec. 10, 2011
Student Center Complex  |  Bristol, Tenn.


In a regional rivalry game, the Tornado went toe-to-toe with Milligan College, pulling out a victory with a late surge on both ends of the floor. Taking a 29-29 tie into the half, King held a lead no more than six points at any given time. Milligan brought the game within a point with less than two minutes reamining in the game. But a stretch of eight consecutive free throws made by the Tornado when they needed them most help separate the two teams and gave King their third straight and seventh overall victory of the season.
King has made it a habit to live and die by the three pointer, as shown by the their statistics through nine games. They lead the league in total three-point attempts (296) and makes (107) by a wide margin. They have the fifth-highest three-point percentage in the league (.361). On an individual level, Brian Hewitt sits ninth in the league in three-point shooting percentage (min. 20 attempts), hitting 43.1 percent of his deep shots. He current leads the league in attempts (101) and total makes (49). 

Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) has been a big bright spot of the freshman class this year. The local product is one of four - and the youngest - to score in double digits this season, averaging 13.7 ppg. He is shooting north of 40 percent both from the field and from distance. He has hit a team second-best 27 threes, just one behind the leader (Brian Hewitt). He is also second on the team in rebounds (4.3 rpg) and shares the team lead for blocks (3). Freshman Keenan Froedden has also seen his minutes go up recently, serving as the No. 2 point guard and a tenacious defensive threat at the top of the key. First-year player Brandon Crompton has played in all nine games and started one so far, averaging just a shade under three points per game but contributing 3.9 rpg and a pair of blocks.

Orlando's own, Eddie Piccinini, has returned from injury in a big way for King. He serves as team captain for the Tornado but also gets it done on the court, averaging 14.6 ppg as a full-time starter.Piccinini is third on the team in FG% (.421) and has the most floor time, playing 33.6 minutes per game. He has posted double-digit point totals in all but one game (vs. Mountain State, Nov. 25), totaling eight games and three straight.

Beckley, W.Va. native Michael Fortune has been a great asset to the Tornado team being the team's second-leading scorer (15.2) and accounting for 14 steals. He is shooting better than 40 percent both from the field goal and from three-point range, He also leads the team in free throw percentage (.914) becoming a triple threat, offensively. Fortune has started all nine games but left the team's game versus Milligan with an injury and is questionable for a return.

The Jaguars have struggled scoring points this season, averaging 51.0 per game, but their defense has given them every opportunity to win by allowing only 49.2 ppg. In five games, the Jags are 2-3 and only have one player scoring in double digits. O'Neal Armstrong is averging 12.0 ppg, shooting at a 37.5 percent clip. Harold Doby is next in the supporting cast, averaging 9.4 ppg but also contributing on the boards (7.6 rpg) as well. Opponents are shooting extremely well against the Jags, hitting 48.1 percent of their shots and 32.2 percent from three-point range. Augusta State has outrebounded their opponent by a +4.8 margin this season and also have a turnover margin greater than their opponent's (+5.4). The Jaguars have lost their last two games by a combined five points and have lost two of their three games by a single point. 

Although he only spent one season with the Torando, Jamie Quarles will reunite with the team that employed him just a season ago. Quarles spent one year as an assistant with King under George Pitts before moving back to his alma mater Augusta State to serve in the same position.

Senior Brian Hewitt was named the Conference Carolinas Male Basketball Player of the Week after posting up 32 points in an upset win against Limestone College on Nov. 29. In just one game, Hewitt convinced voters that his performance to help lead the Tornado to victory over the Saints was enough to garner him the honor for the second time this season. He also earned the award in Week 2. Against Limestone, Hewitt shot 80 percent from the field (12-for-15) and an unprecendented 77.7 percent from three-point range, hitting seven shots from deep. He also added three assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block.

To the chagrin of many around the program, King has overcome a decent sized roster turnover from a year ago and started their season with a commanding 6-2 record. Their losses include a tightly played game with Lincoln Memorial (Nov. 12), ranked fourth in the country at the time, and to Mountain State (Nov. 29), the defending NAIA Division I runners-up. They won five of their six games from Nov. 15 to Nov. 29, including a big upset win over Limestone College who was ranked as the preseason favorite to finish atop the conference. 

King College Men's Basketball was voted to finish fifth in Conference Carolinas, according to the Preseason Coaches' Poll taken in mid-October. They were selected to finish second in the West Division, behind preseason favorite Limestone College. Ahead of King in the overall rankings are Limestone, Queens (N.C.), Barton and Mount Olive. 

The Tornado welcomed a new member to the coaching staff this offseason. Damon Johnson was named assistant coach in August, joining Nick Pasqua and Head Coach George Pitts on the staff. Johnson played for Pitts at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn. before he played three seasons at the University of Tennessee. He enjoyed a 10 year profession career playing overseas playing in various European leagues making stops in Spain and Iceland. He spent the last two years coaching in the Johnson City school district. 


King College will introduce live video with commentary on select games via the online home of King College Athletice - -- Video will be guaranteed for all home games and be offered FREE of charge through the Conference Carolinas video partner, America One Broadcasting. Video for away games will be dependant on the opponent. Click here for the direct link.

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