Standifer & Co. Put Away Blues
BRISTOL, Tenn. – King Men's Basketball was led by freshman center Drew Standifer's career-high 20 points in its biggest victory of the season. The Tornado beat the Big Blues of Bluefield State College, 87-53, on Saturday night inside the Student Center Complex. The win keeps the Tornado undefeated with their seventh win out of the gate.
Standifer, a freshman from Knoxville, Tenn., had a previous career-high of 13 points against Mount Olive on Nov. 27 before Saturday's win over the Blues. After Bluefield State made the first basket of the game, Standifer came back with a three pointer from the top of the arc to get King on the board. He finished the first half 3-for-6 from the field from that point, tallying 11 of his 20 total points. He hit 3-of-4 field goals in the second plus three from the free throw line, accounting for nine points in 10 minutes played during the second half.
King (7-0) jumped out to a 13-5 lead over the Blues in the opening 4:06. After Standifer scored the team's first five points, Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) laid a bucket in and was followed by a Logan Lyle three-point basket to take a five point lead. Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) continued the opening run converting a three-point play after being fouled following a successful layup.
With 12:55 remaining in the first half, the Tornado took its first double-digit lead when Aaron Wheeler (Knoxville, Tenn.) split a pair of free throws, 18-8. Standifer continued to wow the crowd with the first of two dunks he had on the night to help King hit the 20-point plateau with 12:39 to go in the opening half.
The Tornado defense was on point by holding the Blues to only 25 first-half points and limited them to only two three-point field goals taken. Once Bluefield State scored its 14th point of the game, King shut down the offense, keeping the Blues scoreless over the next 3:26. King caused two turnovers and forced four misses before BSC broke the streak with a layup by Treon Claiborn. They kept the Blues without a field goal in the final four minutes of the first half and forced four turnovers in the final 2:48 to help take a 19-point lead into the locker room at half, 44-25.
King defense took another big stand after allowing six points in the opening minute, they again shut down the Blues offense, keeping them scoreless for the next 7:42 while scoring the game's next 14 points to open up a 31-point lead, 62-31. The Tornado limited the Blues to fewer field goals (7) in the second half and forced them to shoot 1-for-8 from distance. The Blues finished the night shooting 29.6 percent from the field and only 20 percent from long range.
Further demonstrating their defensive dominance on the night, King forced the Blues into 27 turnovers, resulting in 26 points.
Eddie Piccinini and Brandon Crompton (Hurricane, W.Va.) each finished with 11 points to join Standifer in the double-digit point scoring club, combining for 8-of-16 (.500) from the field. Crompton added six rebounds, one block, and one steal to his stat line over 15 minutes played.
Jason Seymore led the team with eight rebounds and was one of six King players with a pair of steals on the night. Freshman James Scales (Rogersville, Tenn.) led the Tornado in assists (5).
Bluefield State had two double-digit scorers, led by Vincent Rogers (13). Antoine Bryant scored 11 and had a team-high seven rebounds for the Big Blues.
The win improves King, who received votes in the latest NABC Top 25 Coaches' Poll, to 7-0 overall on the season. They remain the final Conference Carolinas team to be undefeated following No. 10 Barton's loss to Shaw (91-86) on Dec. 3.
King will play next at No. 11 Lincoln Memorial University on Dec. 16. Last year, LMU defeated King three times over the course of the season by a combined 15 points, including a 67-60 loss in the school's first appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Live statistics and video will be available for the contest.