BRISTOL, Tenn. – In their third matchup in three weeks' time, and second this week, the third seeded King University men's basketball team jumped on sixth seed North Greenville University early and never looked back as they took the Conference Carolinas Quarterfinal 96-73. Logan Lyle was deadly from three-point range as he only missed three triples on game en route to a career-high 30 points.
Scottie Hendricks jumped started the offense with a triple in the first minute before Lyle struck for his first of eight trifectas on the night. With the offense clicking early, the Tornado defense began to dig in as Shamarae Watts got a steal and fed Hunter LeVeau for a deuce to give King a 10-1 point advantage and force a North Greenville (14-14) timeout four minutes into the frame.
Two minutes later, James Scales got a steal that led to more fastbreak points for the Tornado, a Watts layup to stretch the King lead to 12 points. The Tornado (15-12) extended their lead to 32-16 with more than six minutes left following a C.J. Good triple before the Crusaders scored six of the next seven points to cut the deficit to 11 points with five minutes left in the first half.
However, the Tornado closed the half on an 11-3 that was kick started by a LeVeau trifecta. Brandon Crompton and Scales followed with back-to-back buckets before Watts made a pair of free throws. After the Crusaders split a pair of free throws, Watts grabbed the defensive rebound with 10 seconds left and raced the length of the court to make a layup with three seconds left to give King a 44-25 lead at halftime.
The Tornado continued to click on both ends of the floor in the second half as Lyle opened the frame with a triple, and Crompton followed with a dunk that turned into a three-point play. The earned their largest advantage of the night of 25 points twice, first following a Lyle three-point basket with 13:19 left, and again after a Lyle dunk 20 seconds later. The lead never fell below 16 points the rest of the way as King cruised to the 96-73 victory.
Lyle led six scorers in double figures with a career-high 30 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the floor and 8-for-11 shooting from long range. Crompton was the only other starter in double figures with 10 points. Watts and Malcolm St. Louis led the Tornado bench that accounted for 53 points with 11 points apiece. Scales and LeVeau both added 10 points of the bench for King. Watts also grabbed 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Michael Fortune led the Tornado with nine assists.
The Tornado came up with 11 steals on 18 Crusader turnovers. King shot 41.3 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three while North Greenville shot 45.8 from the floor and 38.5 from three.
With the win, King moves on to the semifinals of Conference Carolinas Tournament powered by OrthoCarolina. The Tornado will take on second seed Barton College on at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday night at Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C. The teams split the regular season series, each winning on their home court.