Piccinini Helps Pick Apart Jaguars

*photo courtesy of Katie Bowles
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The Tornado overcame a seven point halftime deficit to defeat the Augusta State Jaguars, 66-61, on Saturday night. Four King players posted double-digit scoring totals as the team shot north of 40 percent from the floor in their eighth win of the season.

Postgame audio (.mp3)
Senior guard Eddie Piccinini - click here

King (8-2) eliminated the five point hole just six minutes into the second half when senior Brian Hewitt (Lexington, Ky.) hit his only three pointer of the night, tying the game at 37 points. Both teams battled back and forth throughout the second half but felt the momentum shift and the crowd get behind the Tornado near the 12-minute mark. King began a 17-6 run that began with a Lio Gideon (Marsh Harbor, Bahamas) layup and ended with the senior dunking home following a feed from senior Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.).


The Tornado possessed a 10-point lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game but was cut in half by a five-point miniature run by the Jaguars to bring the game to 49-44. Augusta State continued to claw back into the game when D'Angelo Boyce hit a deep three from the left wing to tie the game, 51-51 before King responded scoring six unanswered points behind hit shots from Brandon Goss, Brian Hewitt and Brandon Crompton.

After Hewitt split a pair of shots at the charity stripe to increase the lead to eight points, the Jaguars returned fire by closing the Tornado lead to two points to make it a two-point game, 61-59. Brandon Crompton (Hurricane, W.Va.) came up huge on the defensive end by rejecting O'Neil Armstrong under the basket and forced Devon Wright-Nelson to miss a jump shot from the left side, giving the ball back to King.

Ahead 63-59 following a pair of Piccinini free throws, ASU's Harold Doby charged down the floor and fought through three King defenders to put a layup in with 16 seconds left.  D'Angelo Boyce committed his fifth foul under the basket on the other end, sending Piccinini to the line once again. The senior hit his first free throw, extending the lead to three points, 64-61, but missed the second to allow ASU one last chance to tie the game. Tye Beal created a clear look from the left wing but missed off to the right where Brian Hewitt pulled down the rebound and called a timeout on his way to the floor with 0.6 seconds remaining to retain possession of the ball for King. After a technical foul was administered against the Jaguars bench, Piccinini iced the game hitting both free throws to give King a 66-61 victory.

Piccinini scored 13 points in the second half, 11 from the free throw line. He finished with a game-high 16 points and was one of four King players to score in double digits. Freshman Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) ended with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, hitting half of his six three-point attempts. Lyle also led the Tornado with eight rebounds. Hewitt and Goss each scored 10 points in the win.

King will play the No. 3 Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters at the Student Center on Dec. 17 (4:00 p.m.), in a rematch from their first meeting on the opening weekend of the season. On Nov. 12, the Tornado and nationally-ranked Railsplitters battled to a 75-69 decision favoring LMU at the SAC/Conference Carolinas Challenge.