WISE, Va. – The King University men's basketball team held a late lead, but the Cavaliers of the University of Virginia's College at Wise closed the game on a 12-3 run to take a 68-65 victory over the Tornado in a nonconference basketball matchup. It was the second time this season that UVa-Wise has defeated the Tornado after the Cavaliers' 74-64 victory in Bristol to open the season.
King (4-7) led 62-56 with just under six minutes remaining in the contest after Logan Lyle made one of three foul shots. The Cavaliers (5-2) cut the deficit in half with a three-point basket from Jordan Smith, then took a brief lead after a basket by Javon Moore and two Smith free throws.
Lyle returned the lead to the Tornado with a three-pointer with 3:04 remaining, but King would not score again in the game as the Cavaliers built a tenuous three-point lead. The Tornado had two opportunities for a game-tying basket on their final possession, but Lyle's attempt hit the rim and Scottie Hendricks was short on his shot at the buzzer to preserve the win for UVa-Wise, allowing the Cavaliers to earn their first two-game sweep of King since the 2005-06 season.
The Tornado shot well against the stingiest defense in the Mountain East Conference, making 37.7 percent of their field goal attempts and 43.3 percent of their three-point shots. Of the 20 field goals the Tornado scored in the contest, 13 were from behind the three-point arc, adding to King's NCAA Division II-leading total in three-point baskets made.
But King found itself on the wrong end of a 41-27 rebounding advantage for UVa-Wise, aided by 11 boards from Javon Moore and 10 from the Mountain East's leading rebounder in Deon Boyce. The Cavaliers came into the game averaging 9.2 more rebounds than their opponents in six contests this season.
The Tornado were led by Lyle, who scored 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting, including four baskets from distance. The King bench again provided a large contribution, outscoring the Cavalier reserves 28-10. Hunter LeVeau poured in 13 points off the bench, including nine points in a 56-second first-half span that turned an 18-13 deficit into a 22-18 lead midway through the period.
Michael Fortune also had a solid day for the Tornado, dishing out six helpers to raise his 5.2 assists per game average that ranks second in Conference Carolinas and 16th in Division II.
UVa-Wise was playing its first game in over ten days after a break for final exams. The well-rested Cavaliers had five players in double-figures, led by Boyce's 14. James Turner chipped in 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.
Each team made 12 free throws and combined to go 24-of-26 on free throw attempts, with Lyle providing the only missed foul shots for either team. King scored 10 fast break points compared to just two for the Cavaliers, but UVa-Wise held a 26-12 advantage in the paint.
In attendance were over 2,100 elementary and middle school-aged students from Wise County who were given free tickets to the event.
The Tornado will return home to face USC Aiken on Saturday, who won the Southeast Region last season and finished one win shy of a Final Four appearance. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. The game has been designated Church Day in conjunction with the women's team's game against Mars Hill University at 1:00 p.m. Any fan bringing a church bulletin to the games will have his entire family admitted to the contest for free.