BRISTOL, Tenn. – King College Men's Basketball did its part to stay alive in the hunt for a Conference Carolinas regular season championship, defeating Erskine College on Friday night. Earlier today, the Tornado were officially crowned Regular Season Champions after Mount Olive College defeated Queens University of Charlotte, allowing King to leapfrog to the top of the league standings in the season's final day of regular season play.
King entered Friday night tied with Queens (N.C.) for first place in the league standings with a 13-2 Conference Carolinas ledger, however the Royals held the edge by way of head-to-head tiebreaker with their victory over the Tornado on Feb 11.
The Tornado kept their hopes alive for a regular season championship by defeating the Erskine Flying Fleet on Friday night (Feb. 24), 56-50, behind senior guard Brian Hewitt's 19 points, furthering him beyond the 1,000 career point plateau*. The win gave King a one-half game lead over Queens (N.C.) with the Royals having one game left to play against the Mount Olive Trojans, Saturday afternoon.
Queens (N.C.) ended its run toward a regular season championship with a loss to the Trojans, 88-79, in a battle between two regionally-ranked teams fighting for a chance at the regional tournament. Mount Olive broke away near the 10-minute mark of the second half and never looked back en route to their victory.
The regular season championship and being the No. 1 overall team does not affect the Conference Carolinas Tournament seeding. Since the tournament is bracketed based on finish within the division, King as the No. 1 seed in the West Division will host the Coker Cobras who hold the No. 4 seed in the East Division. The first round pitting King versus Coker will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from inside the Student Center Complex at 7:00 p.m.
The Tornado end their regular season 22-6 overall, 14-2 in Conference Carolinas play.
King earns its first Conference Carolinas crown of any sort since joining the conference in June 2011. Four King teams have now advanced on to Conference Carolinas post-season, tournament play. Of the three that have played a tournament game already, one has one in postseason play. This is all in addition to a successful appearance at the league championships for the King cross country team where they placed second of 11 on the men's side, third on the women's side.
For full recap of Queens (N.C.) / Mount Olive game, click here.
* Brian Hewitt achieved point #1,000 with his last bucket at Pfeiffer on Feb. 18. The three-pointer took him from 999 to 1,002 career points entering Friday's game.