Piccinini Tosses in 20, Tornado Fall to Royals
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – King's offense had an off night from the field despite Eddie Piccinini's third 20-point performance of the season. The Tornado dropped a 66-54 decision to Queens University of Charlotte on Saturday evening to fall to 11-3 overall, 6-2 in Conference Carolinas.
After fighting back from a lead that was as many as 11 points late in the first half, King battled to within five points with 5:05 remaining to give them a chance to overcome the Royals. The Tornado sent freshman Malcolm St. Louis and senior Jason Seymore to the line after being fouled at the hoop and the duo connected on all four attempts to trim the lead to six. Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) scored two of his 20 points on the next possession following a Queens turnover. His layup with 8:27 to go in addition to Seymore splitting another pair of free throw attempts cut the lead to three, 50-47, prior to the Royals making a bit of a run with buckets in their next two possessions.
King started to cool while the Royals increased their lead to 10 with 2:20 to go behind makes by David Mason, Tre McLean, and the game's leading scorer Antonio Stabler. Stabler's jumper made the game a 59-49 score in favor of the hosts and despite a three from Piccinini on the ensuing possession, King never rebounded from that deficit. Queens finished the game on a 7-2 rally to make for a 66-54 final.
The Tornado battled back from double-digit deficits twice prior to Queens' last run to put the game out of reach. The first such instance came with five minutes remaining as the Royals jumped out to a 28-18 lead as King struggled from the field. Piccinini tossed in a pair of three pointers to keep things close but the Tornado began to come back after Calvin Walker was fouled on a three-point attempt and sunk all three free throws he was awarded. King closed out the half down by seven with credit to Piccinini for his third three pointer and 13 first-half points.
Led by Antonio Stabler, Queens handled the Tornado in the paint, outscoring them 42-20 in that category. Stabler scored 16 of his game-high 29 points from inside the arc and converted on 13-of-16 attempts from the charity stripe. The Royals also cashed in on 19 King turnovers, leading to 18 points, 14 coming on the fast break.
As a team, King shot 37.5 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from distance. Piccinini made seven of the team's 18 field goals and four of their six three pointers. Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) was King's next leading scorer with seven points while leading the team with eight rebounds. No other Tornado player scored more than five points.
King (11-3, 6-2) who had received votes in the most recent NABC/NCAA Division II Coaches' Poll, will host rival Lees-McRae on Monday, Jan. 21, inside the Student Center Complex. Monday will also mark First Responders Night where all police, fire, and EMS personnel plus their families can attend both the men's and the women's games free of charge (with proof of employment). The Lady Tornado will tip off against the Bobcats at 5:30 p.m. while the men will follow at 7:30 p.m. Live stats and video will be available for both games at www.KingTornado.com.