BRISTOL, Tenn. – Rivalry games are always tough, and the King University men’s basketball team played Lees-McRae College in a tight Conference Carolinas affair on Wednesday night. The Tornado struggled from the floor, but had a chance to win the game late. However, the Bobcats got one last stop to take the game 76-74.
FINAL SCORE: Lees-McRae 76, King 74
LOCATION: Student Center Complex; Bristol, Tenn.
RECORDS: King 9-8, 4-3 Conference Carolinas; Lees-McRae 9-6, 3-3 Conference Carolinas
HOW IT HAPPENED
· The first half was tight throughout, with each team making a run near the end of the opening stanza.
· The Bobcats defense held the Tornado to a 32.4 field goal percentage in the first half, and capitalized on King miscues, scoring 11 points off of turnovers.
· On the other side, King hit the offensive glass hard, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and scoring nine second chance points.
· The score was even for the fourth and final time of the half at 20-20.
· Kalen Clifton tried to get the crowd going with a dunk off of missed shot, but the Bobcats answered with an 11-2 run.
· However, King responded with a 10-2 to close the first half and cut their deficit to 39-37 at halftime.
· Mike Salomon drilled a pair of triples on the run to close the half to the Tornado.
· Early in the second half, King went on a 9-0 run to take a 47-43 lead following a Je’Don Young triple.
· King extended their lead to 52-47 before the Bobcats started to comeback. A 9-4 Lees-McRae run evened the score and a triple from Kamil Williams gave Lees-McRae a 59-57 lead.
· The Bobcat lead grew to as many as seven in the second half but, the Tornado came back as Clifton pulled King within two with a pair of free throws with 1:22 remaining.
· The score remained at 76-74 and King had the ball with 4.1 seconds remaining, however, the shot was off the mark as Lees-McRae took the contest.
· In the second half, Lees-McRae scored 22 points in the paint, and finished with 34 points in the paint to King’s 20.
· Mack Owens led five King scorers in double figures with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds.
· Salomon tallied 13 points, knocking down four triples and grabbing nine rebounds.
· Young added 13 points and seven assists while Jordan Floyd and Clifton chipped in with 11 points apiece.
· Shon’Dre Dukes grabbed nine rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
FOR THE FOES
· Lepreece Lynch led five Bobcat scorers in double figures with 16 points.
· Williams and Avery Wallis scored 14 points apiece with Williams grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.
· Donte Falls scored 13 points and Quay Kimble chipped in with 10 points.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
· King grabbed 51 rebounds, their second highest total of the season while holding Lees-McRae to 30 rebounds, the second lowest for a Tornado opponent this season.
· The seven assists for Young mark a career-high. His previous best of five came earlier this season against Carson-Newman University.
· King posted five scorers in double figures for the second time this season, the other coming against Salem International.
· King stays at home to face Erskine College on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
· Lees-McRae hosts Emmanuel College on Saturday afternoon.