BLUEFIELD, W.Va. – King College's sharpshooting returned to form in their second day at the Commerce Classic. The Tornado found its stroke in a 97-78 victory over host Bluefield State on Saturday night. Three King players hit the 20-point plateau and four finished in double figures while also setting a new school record with 20 three point hits in the win.
King (5-2) began its breakaway from the Big Blues with a 12-3 run seven minutes into the game. Already leading by five points, 20-15, Brian Hewitt (Lexington, Ky.) hit a three and put up a breakaway layup following a steal to extend the lead to 10 points. The Tornado increased their lead to 20 points with 3:27 remaining in the opening half backed by Michael Fortune's 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, five hits from behind the arc.
Three of the four Tornado players that hit double-digit point totals achieved the mark in the first half. Between Fortune, Hewitt and freshman Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) the trio accounted for 45 of the team's 54 points. King finished the first half shooting just short of 53 percent from the field and 54 percent from distance, hitting 13 threes in the opening half.
Piccinini entered the double-digit scoring club with 15 second half points, ending the day with a total of 19. He shot 50 percent (5-for-10) from the field with a pair of three pointers to help the Tornado maintain a double-digit lead for the duration of the game and getting the lead as high as 22 points late in the contest.
Lyle led all Tornado scorers with 23 points, adding four rebounds to his line. Of his eight makes from the field, seven were three-point attempts. Hewitt went 8-for-13 (.615) from the field and 5-for-9 from behind the arc. He ended the night with 21 points. Fortune was the final 20-plus point scorer with an even 20 on 7-of-11 (.636) shooting.
King capitalized on 15 Bluefield State miscues, scoring 24 points off of turnovers. The Tornado bench outscored the Big Blues', 35-12. King also outrebounded Bluefield State 41-36 and scored 13 points on second chances.
Included in the shooting success, the Navy and Scarlett set a new program record with number of three point shots made in a game with 20 against the Big Blues. The previous record was 19 set on Feb. 6, 2010 against Virginia Intermont.
The Tornado will conclude a seven-game road stint and begin conference play at the same time on Nov. 29 against Limestone College. The men and women's teams will play in doubleheader action beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the Lady Tornado leading the way from Gaffney, South Carolina. The men will follow with a tentative 7:30 p.m. start time.