BRISTOL, Tenn. – In a game which they never trailed, the King Tornado men's basketball team handed Tusculum College a 91-78 defeat inside the Student Center Complex in their home opener, Wednesday night. Redshirt senior Jason Seymore scored a team-high 22 points while four of the Tornado's starting five finished the night in double digits for points.
A trio of three-point makes and two additional Tusculum turnovers helped King to a 13-4 run out of the gate. Freshman Drew Standifer nailed a three from the top of the key to get things going inside the Student Center Complex, only to be followed by threes from Eddie Piccinini and Jason Seymore inside the four minutes of play.
King built their lead to as many as 13 with 7:24 remaining in the first half before the Pioneers scored 10 straights points to bring the score to 33-30. Both teams went back and forth over the final four minutes where TC's Addison Flynn hit two free throws to draw within two of King, 39-37.
Out of halftime, King wasted no time reacquiring its double-digit lead, doing so within three minutes of the start of the second half. Sophomore Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) hit a three to begin the half and a then a second long-range shot to increase the lead to eight, 50-42. After B.J. Fisher missed a jumper Jason Seymore took a pass from Drew Standifer and laid it in to help King go back up by 10, 52-42.
Lyle continued to snipe from long range with his third three of the half at the 16:39 mark, giving the Tornado a 13 point lead. King built its lead to 19 just short of the nine-minute mark with help from the Pioneers getting into foul trouble and putting King into the double bonus at that point. Tusculum never breached King's double-digit lead as King continued to play strong to the final buzzer.
Leading King offensively was senior Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. He also led the team with four steals and added five rebounds.
Fourteen of Eddie Piccinini's 18 points came in the second half on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and hitting both of his three-point attempts in the final 20 minutes.
Drew Standifer (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Logan Lyle were the last two of four King players to finish in double digits scoring. The reigning Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year closed the night out with 18, matching Piccinini, while the freshman Standifer tallied 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting (.500).
Junior Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.) dished out six assists to lead King while serving up six points and four rebounds. In his home debut, freshman Aaron Wheeler (Morristown, Tenn.) posted a team best three blocks and six rebounds while ending with nine points.
King helped its cause by forcing the Pioneers into 23 turnovers, turning those into 24 points. Conversely, the Tornado committed just 12 turnovers.
Three Tusculum players finished with 10 or more points on the night. The Pioneers were led by Keith Jumper's 16 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting from the field. He also led the team with three steals. Addison Flynn (14) and Nick Spinks (13) also reached double digit scoring.
King (2-0) will play the Pfeiffer Falcons this Saturday, Nov. 17 in Misenheimer, N.C. They will tipoff at 4 p.m. as the nightcap of a men's/women's basketball doubleheader. They will return to the Student Center Complex on Dec. 1 when they host the Queens (N.C.) Royals.