December 17, 2011

No. 3 Lincoln Memorial Holds Off Tornado in Rematch

BRISTOL, Tenn. – In a contest that pitted the Tornado against nationally-ranked Lincoln Memorial University serving as a rematch to their mid-November meeting, King College came within a few mere possessions of an upset over the Railsplitters. Lincoln Memorial deflected a late surge with less thirty seconds remaining delivering the Tornado their third loss of the season, 77-75.

Postgame comments from Assistant Coach Nick Pasqua - click here

Down seven points with 3:17 remaining, King scored seven of the game's next nine points to pull within a pair of the number-three team in the nation. The three ball came alive for the Tornado down the stretch when Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) and Brian Hewitt (Lexington, Ky.) each hit a deep ball in consecutive possessions to keep the team down just one, 73-72.

Hewitt then committed a foul on the other end of the court while the Railsplitters were in the double bonus, sending Jake Troyli to the line for two shots. After converting both, King again steamed down the floor but Hewitt's three-point shot with seven seconds to go missed to the right. Tony Martin of LMU came up with the rebound and was fouled by Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.). Martin hit both free throws to ice the game for the Railsplitters before Piccinini hit a three in the near-side corner as time expired to lead to the 77-75 final score and a LMU win.

Hewitt led the Tornado with 23 points and tied teammate Lio Gideon (Marsh Harbor, Bahamas) for the most rebounds (5). The Lexington, Ky. native hit 50 percent of his shot from the field (8-for-16) and went 6-of-11 from three. Hewitt also had two blocks in three steals in the loss.

Piccinini finished the game with 17 points, hitting 9-of-10 from the charity stripe in 29 minutes played. Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) rounded out those Tornado players with double-digit point totals, finishing with a season-high 14 after going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

King (8-3) trailed by 12 points mid-way through the first half before going on a 14-2 run to tie the game at 29-29. Lincoln Memorial responded with seven points after King tied the game but once again the Tornado stormed back into the game with a chance to take a lead going into the locker room. The Scarlett and Navy were sent to the line five times after Logan Lyle hit a three pointer to trim the deficit to four points. Goss hit his pair and Fortune made 2-of-3 after being fouled on a three-point shot attempt to tie the game at 36-all before send the game into halftime.

Three of Hewitt's six three pointers came in the second half to help bounce from a ten-point deficit with 12 minutes to go in the game. Piccinini had a team-best 12 points in the final 20 minutes to assist in the near-upset.

Lincoln Memorial (11-0) outrebounded the Tornado 43-22, leading to 20 second-chance points. The Railsplitters did a majority of their damage in the paint, scoring 34 of their 77 points from close range. They featured five scorers in double digits, led by Jake Troyli's 17 points. Lincoln Memorial had two players fall one rebound short of a double-double with Vincent Bailey finishing 13-9 and Justin Allen 11-9.

The loss breaks a four-game winning streak the Tornado had accumulated as they fall to 8-3 overall. King will return to the court to host Salem International on Friday, Dec. 30 in the final game of 2011, also serving as their final non-conference game of the season. Tipoff between the Tornado and the Tigers is set for 3:00 p.m. at the Student Center Complex (Bristol, Tenn.).