BANNER ELK, N.C. – Despite an early spurt of offense that gave the Lees-McRae Bobcats an early double-digit lead, the King University Tornado battled back and erased the deficit by halftime and went on to claim an 88-64 victory in Williams Gymnasium, Wednesday night. Logan Lyle went off from beyond the arc, hitting 6-of-8 three-point shots and finishing with a team and season-high 26 points on the night.
Over the first 13 minutes of the game, Lees-McRae built as many as 11 points before King began its eradication of the deficit. Sophomore Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) hit the first of his six three pointers with 6:06 remaining in the first half. The trey cut the lead down to six points, making for a 24-18 score. With help from a retaliatory three from Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) and Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) converted a three-point play the non-traditional way to make for a one-possession game, 27-24 with just over four minutes remaining. A Bobcat turnover on the following possession turned into another Logan Lyle three pointer, tying the game at 27 and shifting the momentum into King's favor.
Michael Fortune scored the next five points to help King take the lead and hold on to a three point lead going into the final minute of play. King and Lees-McRae traded three-point makes at the end of the half to make for a 35-34 Tornado advantage going into the half.
King ruled the boards in the first half, outrebounding LMC 22-17 which lead to a 14-0 second-chance-point advantage.
Logan Lyle scored eight of the Tornado's first 10 points of the second half to quickly take an 11-point lead in the opening three minutes of the second half. Lyle hit three free throws after being fouled in his first shot attempt of the half. Malcolm St. Louis (Lebanon, Tenn.) gave Lyle another chance to do damage by denying James Saint Marc of a layup attempt with a block. Lyle came down the other end and nailed a three to put King up by seven, 41-34. His layup at the 17:20 mark built King's lead to 11 points and continued to grow to 16 points before the midway point of the half.
Shots continued to rain down from inside Williams Gymnasium as King's shooting percentages were north of 50 percent from both the field and three-point land. King finished the second half shooting 53.6 and 53.8 percent, respectively, from both ranges. Twenty of Lyle's 27 points came in the second half.
King's defense also helped create more than 10 points off of turnovers off of 11 LMC turnovers in the second half. They forced a grand total of 21 turnovers, 12 via steals.
King featured four double-digit scorers on the night, led by Lyle's 26 points, a new season high for the sophomore. Michael Fortune finished with 15 points while Jason Seymore (12) and Eddie Piccinini (10) completed the set. Piccinini scored all 10 of his points in the second half.
Daniel Sepokas of Lees-McRae led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting while also leading the team with six rebounds.
King (16-6, 11-5 CC) will host Mount Olive on Saturday, Feb. 16, inside the Student Center Complex at 4 p.m. this weekend. The Tornado will play three of their next four games at home to close out the season in a string of crucial Conference Carolinas matchups.