No. 25 King Keeps Streak Alive, Pull Out Victory Over Knights
BRISTOL, Tenn. – No. 25 Tornado Men's Basketball kept their unbeaten streak alive, defeating St. Andrew's Presbyterian College, 75-64, for their 11th straight league win. All five King starters finished in double figures scoring, led by Michael Fortune's 19 points.
The Tornado, currently ranked 25th in NCAA Division II, held a comfortable eight-point lead with six minutes remaining before the Knights willed back with eight straight points to tie the game. King regained the lead when Lio Gedeon (Marsh Harbor, Bahamas) worked his way to the bucket and converted two consecutive layups to accompany Brandon Goss' jumper to build back a 31-26 lead heading into halftime.
King (19-4, 11-0) returned to the floor and went on a 20-3 run, scoring on five straight possessions to start the second half. Gedeon returned with two buckets during the run and capped off by a layup by Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) on a fast break following a steal by Fortune. King extended the lead to 17 points when Nathan Vannoy (Piney Flats, Tenn.) hit a three from the left wing and Fortune followed with another bucket out of the 15-minute media timeout.
The Knights responded with a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to single digits for the first time since the start of the second session. St. Andrew's continued to battle and over the next four minutes and were within two scores of the Tornado after a Ross Williams three brought the score to 60-55, King leading with 6:02 remaining.
Gedeon struck again by breaking the Knight run with his fifth field goal of the day, followed by another Goss jumper from close range to put King ahead, 66-57. After Gedeon's sixth and final make of the day and Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) icing the game with his third three pointer, King took back its double digit lead, 71-59, with 1:18 to go.
Fortune, a native of Beckley, W.Va., scored a team-high 19 points on 6-of-8 (.750) shooting from the field. He hit three of his four three-point attempts and was perfect from the free throw line (4-4). Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) went 6-of-10 and added six assists and as many rebounds.
Lyle scored 16 as his role continues to increase with the injury to senior guard Brian Hewitt. Lyle has scored in double figures in six straight games and doing so only eight times in his previous 16 games.
Lio Gedeon ended the game hitting 6-of-7 from the field for a season-high 12 points. He added a game-high nine rebounds. Piccinini rounded out the last of the double-digit scorers (10), giving all five starters 10 or more points.
Ryan Streater led St. Andrew's with 16 points and added four assists. Demetrius Lewis scored eight points and had a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Tornado will host Belmont Abbey on Feb. 8 as the twilight of a basketball doubleheader while both team's create a "Sea of Red" inside the Student Center Complex. Fans are encouraged to wear red King gear and waive complimentary "Tornado Warning" rally towels that will be given to those in attendance as King looks to continue its unbeaten streak in Conference Carolinas play.
The Tornado are now 11-0 against Conference Carolinas opponents with five games remaining. With a win over Belmont Abbey, the Tornado will clinch at least a first-round home game in the Conference Carolinas Tournament, held Feb. 28 through March 4.