BRISTOL, Tenn. – Behind Eddie Piccinini's 21 points and the Tornado's consistent shooting attack, King won its tenth straight Conference Carolinas game to stay undefeated in league play. The Tornado defeated North Greenville University, 77-70, Thursday night at the Student Center Complex.
King (18-4, 10-0) built an eight-point lead midway through the first half after Piccinini hit back-to-back threes and split a set of free throws to give the Tornado a 29-21 lead over NGU. The Crusaders wasted no time in returning the favor, going on a 12-3 run to tie the contest with under a minute remaining.
Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) helped King take a lead into halftime, scoring on a midrange jumper to take a 34-32 edge.
The Tornado scored 11 of the next 15 points to take a nine-point lead. Lio Gedeon (Marsh Harbor, Bahamas) scored a pair of buckets before Piccinini and Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) added a pair of field goals to drive the score to 49-41.
King flirted with the double-digit lead for much of the second half using their long-ball shooting to keep the distance. The Tornado hit 4-of-9 three-point attempts in the second half, two by freshman Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.). King shot 63.6 percent from the field in the second half alone, knocking down 14-of-22 shots.
Lyle's second three pointer with 3:35 remaining spurred the final blow to the Crusaders that left its mark permanently in the score column. Following Lyle's trey that pushed the lead to 11, Goss hit a jumper followed by one of Piccinini's four threes gave King a 71-55 lead that lead the team to their tenth win in conference. North Greenville finished scoring the game's last 12 points with Chris Dean tallying the last seven.
Piccinini led the team with 21 points on a day he shot 43.7 percent overall, adding a trio of rebounds and assists to his line. He notched his fourth straight game with 20 or more points dating back to Jan. 21 and fifth straight game with 10 or more points. He has scored in double figures in all but two games this season, totaling 19 games.
Lyle and Goss joined their teammate as those scoring 10 or more points on Thursday night. Lyle scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, four of his makes coming from behind the arc. Goss ended with 11 points and had a team-best five assists. Goss hit 4-of-5 from the field, good for an 80 percent shooting mark.
The Tornado bench combined for 16 points on 6-for-12 (.500) shooting, including two of the team's 11 three pointers. King shot 50.9 percent from the field on the day and just under 40 percent from distance.
King will host St. Andrew's Presbyterian College in the finale of a doubleheader with the Knights. The women kick off the action at 2:00 p.m. at the Student Center (Bristol, Tenn.) with the men to follow at 4:00 p.m. Saturday is Washington County Youth Basketball Day, where fans from Washington County (Va.) that wear their basketball team's game jersey will earn free admission for them and their family for the day.