King began their separation from the Eagles near the seven-minute mark when Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) dumped in a layup from the right side of the lane to put the Tornado up by three, 67-64. After a three-point miss by Carson-Newman's Antoine Davis and an Eagle foul, Brandon Crompton (Hurricane, W. Va.) padded the lead by making a pair of free throws to put the Tornado up by five.
With four consecutive successful free throws, the Eagles battled back to within a point but Piccinini fended off their charge by hitting a jumper and a pair of free throws to extend the lead to three points. Goss followed with a pair of free throws after being fouled to increase the lead to five points, 76-71. Marcellous Perez attempted one final charge with a pair of field goal, but the Eagles could not get any more offense at that point as the Tornado kept their distance with a four-point win, 79-75.
King (1-0, 0-0) enjoyed a 10 point lead at the half, 39-29, a lead that was accumulated early in the game. Tied 5-5, King went on a 13-2 run backed by a pair of threes hit by Logan Lyle, who earned the start in his first collegiate game. Lyle led all scorers in the first half with 14 points on 4-for-5 shooting from deep. Brian Hewitt chipped in with nine points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field.
Piccinini scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, finishing the game 6-for-10 (.600) from the field and 8-for-10 from the free throw line. Lyle went 4-for-6 from distance and scored 14 points in his collegiate debut. Goss finished with 16 points, hitting a trio of three pointers and going 6-for-13 from the field.
In the post, Lio Gedeon (Marsh Harbor, Bahamas) helped the Tornado outrebound the Eagles, 39-31, with a team-high eight boards. Three Tornado players finished with five or more rebounds, including Goss, Crompton and sophomore guard Michael Fortune (Beckley, W. Va.).
The Tornado limited turnovers, allowing only 10 and forcing 22 Eagle turnovers on the day. As a team, the Navy and Scarlett went 21-for-26 from the free throw line (.808).
Ishmael Sanders led the Eagles scoring with 22 points while teammates Antoine Davis and Marcellous Perez each scored 18. David and Sanders each hit four three pointers, though Sanders shot just under 50 percent from beyond the arc.