November 29, 2010

Pitts gets to 100 wins after King beats Milligan 110-88

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. - King College head men's basketball coach George Pitts joined the 100-win club after the Tornado defeated Milligan (Tenn.) College 110-88 Monday.

Pitts, now at 100-36 while at the helm of the Tornado program, joins Al Nida and Scott Polsgrove as the only Tornado coaches with 100 or more wins while at King. Pitts is seven games into his fifth season at King and became the fastest of the 100-win club members to reach the mark. He has wins over 32 teams during his tenure at King. It was in Polsgrove's ninth season and Nida needed six full seasons before reaching 100 wins.

In addition King pushed a winning streak over Milligan to 10 straight by an average margin of 19.4 with five wins by at least 20 points. The Tornado, a former Appalachian Athletic Conference member, now has 13 straight wins over former conference foes in a streak that goes back to the 2008-09 season.

The Tornado improved to 3-4 and will open the home portion of the schedule Wednesday with a rematch against Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) University. King was a 79-63 victim at Lincoln Memorial last Tuesday.

Mark Dockery (Nickelsville, Va.) paced all scorers with 28 points. He was 9-for-11 from the field with six 3-pointers. It was his third game of the season with at least 22 points and the nine baskets are the most made by a Tornado this season.

Clarence Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) poured in 17 points with seven rebounds. Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) added 15 points with a near-perfect 6-for-7 night. His only miss was a 3-pointer. Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) also scored 15 for a season best and he dished out five assists. Brian Hewitt (Lexington, Ky.) scored a dozen points with four assists.

The 110 points are a season best for King and the first time the Tornado put at least 100 on the board since a 127-point night against Hiwassee (Tenn.) College on Feb. 24, 2010. In all King posted five games last season with at least 100 points and three of at least 110.

The game was nip and tuck for the first 10 minutes, but Dockery hit a three to put King up 32-30 and the Tornado went from there. In the opening 10 minutes the game was tied four times with four lead changes. King enjoyed a 42-34 lead with 6:15 left in the half, but Milligan got within one a minute later thanks to a 7-0 spurt. That was as close as the Buffaloes would get to the Tornado as King enjoyed a 53-47 halftime lead.

It took King two minutes into the final half to open a double-digit lead, 59-49, and the Tornado went from there. At the mid point of the final half King had a 84-57 advantage, the largest of the game. In the final minutes King led by as many as 15.

Milligan, now at 2-5, got 22 points from Kyle Grisby. Tim Harper had 14 to match his uniform number. Hudson Fricke, Justin Sylvester and Tyler DeVault all had 10 apiece.

The Tornado went 40-for-62 (64.5 percent) as a team with a dozen 3-pointers. Both the 40 field goals and 12 three pointers are season bests. King was 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) at the free throw line. On the other side Milligan was 31-for-54 (57.4 percent) overall and 12-for-25 (48.0 percent) from beyond the 3-point line.

King's 27 rebounds are the second fewest this season, but the Tornado had eight more than Milligan.