HARROGATE, Tenn. – After falling behind early and taking the entire second half to chip away at a deficit that totaled as many as 15 points, the Tornado pulled with five points of the No. 20 Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters with nearly three minutes to go in the game. Despite 18 points from Eddie Piccinini and a double-double performance from Jason Seymore, King endured its first loss of the season, 75-68, to the Railsplitters.
Nearing the final eight minutes of the second half, King trailed by 10 points before chipping into the Railsplitters' lead with consecutive two-point buckets by Jason Seymore and Eddie Piccinini. After Michael Fortune found Seymore for a made basket to cut the lead to eight, 62-54, LMU's Jake Troyli committed a turnover, setting up Piccinini to sink his 15th and 16th points of the game and make for a six point game.
Cam Carden and Wally Jones responded with back-to-back by regaining their 10 point lead, Seymore scored the last points either team would see for the next 2:30 of the half. Coming out of a timeout, King came down the court and with one shot, closed the gap to five when Logan Lyle hit his third three pointer of the night. The trey brought the Tornado the closest it had been to LMU all half, 66-61, with 2:43 to play but the Splitters scored the next six points in a row while holding King without a field goal for the next 2:21.
The breakaway helped LMU seal the win with time getting short though Jason Seymore gave King one last hope with 10 seconds left when he drove to the bucket, put in a layup, and converted the three-point play on the ensuing free throw to draw within five once again. However, Jake Troyli hit both of his free throw shots after being immediately fouled to put the game out of reach, 75-68.
King (7-1) fought back from being behind by as many as 15 points in the second half. Rebounding from large deficits was a trend for King after battling back from an early 11-2 rally put on by LMU. Freshman Aaron Wheeler (Knoxville, Tenn.) scored nine of his 13 points in the first half, helping King keep within reach of the Railsplitters. Senior Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) scored half of his team-best 18 points in the first half, as well.
Senior forward Jason Seymore tallied his third double-double of the season after putting up 16 points and leading the team with 10 rebounds. He finished with a team-high five field goals on 10 attempts, while adding three steals to his line.
Freshman Malcolm St. Louis (Lebanon, Tenn.) received a season-high 25 minutes against the Splitters where he put up eight point on 4-of-7 shooting and added seven rebounds.
Wally Jones led Lincoln Memorial with 21 points, hitting 6-of-9 three point field goal attempts. Jake Troyli and Vincent Bailey joined him in double digits with 18 and 15 points, respectively.
The loss is King's first of the season after winning their first seven out of the gate, including three in Conference Carolinas play. The Tornado, who received enough votes to place them 26th in the latest NABC Top-25 Coaches Poll, are now 7-1 on the season.
King will be back in action on Dec. 30 when they travel to Aiken, S.C. to take on the USC-Aiken Trojans. Tipoff for their final nonconference game is set for 3 p.m.