Defense Sets the Tone in 67-51 Victory Over Falcons
BRISTOL, Tenn. – The nationally-ranked Tornado featured a defense that limited the visiting Pfeiffer Falcons to just 12 points in the first half to pace No. 22 King toward a 67-51 victory to stay atop the Conference Carolinas standings. Jason Seymore led the Tornado with 16 points and six rebounds.
King's stingy defense forced 15 turnovers in the first half that not only kept the Falcons off the board but also turned into 14 Tornado points. Pfeiffer shot just 20 percent from the field in the first half, hitting only 4-of-20 attempts. Pfeiffer failed on its first six shot attempts, four coming from long range, and were forced into 10 turnovers before making its first field goal of the game 11:02 into the game.
The Tornado's defense helped them jump out to a 17-3 run to start the game. Sophomore Logan Lyle nailed his first two shots, both for three, and Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) kept the streak of three balls going with the Tornado's third straight. With 10:45 remaining, senior forward Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) scored six consecutive points to cap off the King run.
King (11-2, 6-1) continued to pour on the offense all the way to the buzzer ending the first half. Freshman Aaron Wheeler (Morristown, Tenn.) connected on a short-range jumper and converted the free throw to complete the three-point play and was followed by another bucket by Seymore near the one-minute mark to create a 30-point lead, 40-10. Lyle nailed a three pointed with 27 seconds left for the last basket of the half, extending King's lead to 43-12 going into the locker room.
Senior Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) extended King's lead to a game-high 37 points with the third of three straight three pointers used to begin the half on a 9-3 rally.
Pfeiffer began to heat up to remedy their earlier shooting struggles while King cooled from the field following four consecutive misses. The Falcons took advantage of the offensive stall with three straight buckets to help shift the momentum. The Falcons slowly chipped into the King lead but drew no closer than 17 points before their final basket with 1:18 to go.
The Falcons improved their overall shooting percentage to 35.4 percent on the night after hitting 46.4 percent of their second-half shots. Josh Humphrey led all scorers with 18 points and shared the team lead with Tayron Gibson in rebounds (6). Gibson scored 15 points, nine coming from the free throw line.
Jason Seymore and Logan Lyle topped the King scoring charts with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Seymore shared the lead in rebounds (6) with Eddie Piccinini. Lyle led the Tornado with three steals and added a pair of assists.
With the win, No. 22 King remains atop the Conference Carolinas standings with a 6-1 record. They currently are tied for first with Limestone (10-3, 6-1). Their next action is on the road against Queens (N.C.) on Jan. 19 for a 4 p.m. tipoff. The Tornado return to the Student Center Complex on Jan. 21 to play rival Lees-McRae in a continuation of the inaugural battle for the Blue Ridge Cup (King leads, 4-2).