BRISTOL, Tenn. – In a game where the King University men's basketball team fought an uphill battle the entire way, the Tornado had the lead and a chance to win with 2:00 minutes remaining as they hosted Limestone College in the Student Center Complex. However, the Saints closed the contest on a 5-0 run to top the Conference Carolinas- leading Tornado 75-72 on Saturday afternoon.
With just more than four minutes remaining in the game, King (13-10, 10-3 CC) trailed 67-60 before Michael Fortune sparked a Tornado run with a pair of free throws. Logan Lyle stole the ensuing inbounds pass and made a layup to cut the Tornado deficit to three. The Saints' Shaq Dance answered with a three-point basket on the other end before Fortune struck again. This time he drilled his fifth three-point basket of the game.
On King's next possession, Lyle made a layup, and was fouled. He converted the three-point play to even the score at 70 with 2:36 remaining. The Tornado then got a stop on defense, and Malcolm St. Louis made a jump hook in the paint to give the Tornado a 72-70 lead with two minutes left.
However, Limestone (16-6, 8-4 CC) went on a run at that point. Following St. Louis' bucket, Dance converted a three-point play with 1:31 left to give the lead back to the Saints. On King's ensuing possession, Dance got a steal and Josh Odem converted a layup to stretch the lead to three points with just over one minute left. The Tornado missed a shot, and then got a stop and had a chance to tie the game with 10 seconds left, but Fortune's three-point attempt came up just short as time expired, giving Limestone the win.
The Saints held the lead nearly the whole first half, but Fortune kept the Tornado close with his sharpshooting from beyond the arc. The senior went 3-for-4 from long range in the first half for 12 points. The Limestone lead reached as many as seven points with 1:49 remaining before the Tornado went on a run.
Fortune started the spurt with a triple, and Lyle followed with a long range bucket to pull King within 38-37. The Tornado had the final shot of the first half, and Fortune was fouled as he attempted a three-point shot with 0.4 seconds remaining. He made all three free throws to cap the 9-0 run, and give King a 40-38 lead at the break, their first lead of the game.
The Tornado shot 48.1 percent from the field while Limestone made 51.9 percent of their shots from the floor. The Saints also held the advantage in three-point shooting, making 57.1 percent of their shots from long range while King shot 36.4 from three-point land.
Fortune led King with a season-high 20 points while Lyle followed with 16 points. Drew Standifer was the final scorer in double figures as he chipped in with 10 points. Fortuned also dished out a team-high six assist while Lyle and Shamarae Watts each snared seven rebounds.
Odem led Limestone with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. PJ Foster followed with 18 points while Dance and Asaad Woods rounded out the Saints' four scorers in double figures with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
King will try to rebound on Wednesday night when they travel to Belmont Abbey College. Tipoff from Belmont, N.C. is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.