Coker (7-7, 1-4) did not enjoy their 15-point halftime lead for long after Hewitt came out of the gate with two three-point makes followed by a layup from Deshaun Greer (Lewisburg, Tenn.) to quickly disintegrate the Cobra lead. Trailing 41-36 at this point, Coker built their lead back up to 12 with eight minutes to go but once again the Tornado battled back with a 17-3 run over an 8:38 stretch of time to gain the lead for the first time since the 15:31 mark of the first half.
Hewitt scored 14 of the team's 17 points and featured three of his five total three pointers. With a 65-63 lead and 2:17 remaining, the Tornado defense clamped down and allowed only three more points to the Cobras to close of the game. They held the Cobras to only two shots over the final two minutes, both misses. The Cobras hit three of their four free throw opportunities at the charity stripe, but still found themselves four points short when the clock hit zero, 70-66, leading to King's fifth conference victory and 13th overall.
King (13-3, 5-0) rebounded from a first half that the team shot 27.6 from the field and 10 percent from behind the arc. They shot 50 percent or better in both categories in the second half, good for a 30 and 40 percent swing, respectively.
Hewitt ended his night with 34 points, the sixth-most in a single game in King history. He shot .524 (11-21) from the field overall, going 9-for-16 (.563) in the second half alone. He shot the three ball well, hitting 5 of his 10 attempts and 4-of-8 in the second half. He also led the team with eight rebounds.
Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) finished with 13 points, three steals and five rebounds for King. He scored eight of his points in the Tornado's 22-point first half. The remaining three King starters totaled 10 points on a combined 4-of-10 shooting. Freshman Logan Lyle led the Tornado with seven points and four points, off of the bench. Greer ended with five points in eight minutes played.
The Tornado remain unbeaten in Conference Carolinas play, improving to a perfect 5-0 against league opponents to stay atop the West Division. They are one of two unbeaten teams in Conference Carolinas, joining Queens (N.C.), who is also 5-0. They have sole possession of the best overall record among league schools.
King, who recently received votes in the latest NABC Coaches' Poll, will return to the Student Center Complex (Bristol, Tenn.) to play in the nightcap of a Tornado Basketball doubleheader versus rival Lees-McRae (3-10, 3-2) on Monday, Jan. 16. Fans in attendance will receive a complimentary red "Tornado Warning" rally towel. Action begins when the Lady Tornado tipoff with the Lady Bobcats at 5:30 p.m.