Late lead disappeared for Tornado against USC Aiken
BRISTOL, Tenn. - The King College men's basketball team saw an eight-game home winning streak snapped in the home finale Saturday as USC Aiken rallied for a 93-85 overtime decision.
King enjoyed a lead for the first 19:29 of the second half, which was as many as 13 points on two occasions with the last coming with 5:09 to go up 74-61. With 31 seconds left Re'Mon Nelson hit a three-pointer to tie things at 78 from 25 feet out. It was three of his 25 points on the day.
In overtime USC Aiken scored the eight points to King's one, a free throw from Clarence Smith (Nashville, Tenn.), in the first 3:40 of the period. Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) brought King within five with a three pointer. The rest of the game saw the points scored at the free throw line with six from USC Aiken and three by King.
King battled back after falling behind 6-0 to start the game to tie things at 8-8 6:44 into the contest. In all the first half had six lead changes and five ties before King took the lead with a Smith free throw to go up 22-21 with 4:46 on the clock. That was part of a 9-0 King rally that saw the home team gain control and lead 28-21 with 2:20 before halftime. The only USC Aiken points in the final two minutes were on a Alvin Brown dunk with 76 seconds left as King took a 41-26 lead to the locker room.
Smith ended up with a double-double on his senior day with 20 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. It was his second double-double and both had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. He was 7-for-12 from the field, but 6-for-13 at the free throw line. With his second straight 20-point effort Smith moved to No. 12 on King's All-Time scoring list with 1,406. He needs 19 more to pass Eric Ely for 11th.
Mark Dockery (Nickelsville, Va.) added 19 points to give him 1,760 for his career so far, 35 away from taking the No. 2 spot and 40 from No. 1.
King did break the single-season record for three pointers with 286 on the season, three more than the 2008-09 team had. The Tornado made 10 in Saturday's contest.
The setback put King's record at 15-13 overall and snapped the team's five game overall winning streak. USC Aiken went to 17-9 after the contest.
Along with Nelson's 25 points Byron Faison added 26 with 11 from Brown.
USC Aiken made five more shots than King, 34-29, with one more three pointer, 11-10. At the free throw line King was 17-for-29 (58.6 percent) and the visitors went 14-for-22 (63.6 percent) and all of the Pacers came after the first half.
King gave away 19 turnovers which led to 27 points for USC Aiken while a dozen Pacer offensive rebounds were cashed in for 20 second-chance points.
The overtime game was the first for King since the Tornado beat Tennessee Wesleyan College 78-77 on Jan. 17, 2009, 61 games ago.
The Tornado will play at Life (Ga.) University Tuesday in a 7 p.m. contest to wrap up the regular season. King defeated Life 124-113 on Feb. 10.