Tornado Tame Lions, 103-79
MARS HILL, N.C. – King Men's Basketball posted its second straight 100-point game led by senior guard Eddie Piccinini's 26 points, Tuesday night. Stanford Arena belonged to the Tornado as they rolled past the Lions in their home opener, 103-79. Jason Seymore recorded his second double-double in as many games with 20 points and 10 boards in the winning effort.
The first half turned into a shootout after both teams scored over 40 points and swapped leads multiple times in the first half. Mars Hill began to break away from their 12-12 tie, spurred by James Fields' three pointer just under the 15-minute mark. As part of a 12-3 run, Fields hit back-to-back threes with complimenting layups from teammates Will White, Khouraichi Thiam, and Kevin Haynes to build a six point lead, 21-15.
Mars Hill (1-2) held as much as a four point lead for much of the latter parts of the first half until King began a late run to regain the lead before halftime. With 2:24 remaining in the half and down 41-37, King featured a 10-point swing that was started by reserves James Scales and Brandon Crompton. The freshman, Scales, hit a short-range jumper in the paint to draw within two and after a missed shot by the Lions, Crompton came back on the fast break and laid in the game-tying basket to knotting the game at 41.
Following a Daron Guyton layup to give the Lions a short-lived two point lead, Eddie Piccinini hit his second long distance shot of the half to take the lead for the last time. He also closed the half with a third three-point shot to extend the King lead to six points, 49-43, before the closing horn.
King began the second half on a 13-4 run to give them their first double digit lead of the game via a layup by Piccinini. The senior guard hit two three pointers to open the half and contributed eight of the 13 points during the Tornado's opening rally.
After Jason Seymore (Powell, Tenn.) hit a three pointer to give the Tornado a 66-54 lead at 15:47, King never led by fewer than 11 points. They accumulated their first 20 point lead with eight minutes remaining with a Logan Lyle trey, putting King up 86-64, before scoring the team's next four points from in the painted area.
King hit the 100-point plateau for the second straight game when redshirt freshman Nathanael Hughes (Elizabethon, Tenn./Hampton H.S.) created a turnover with a steal and went the other way on a fast break for an easy layup. King went on to win by a 103-79 final score.
Fourteen Mars Hill turnovers in the second half helped King break out to their substantial lead as they led to 21 Tornado points.
Though the Tornado shot 54.1 percent from the field and nearly 47 percent from long range in the first half, they bettered those marks in the second half. Sophomore Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) was a major contributor toward those improvements hitting 4-of-6 shots from the field and 3-of-5 from distance in the second half alone, accounting for 13 points. He totaled 18 points on the night.
Leading the way for King was senior Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) who scored a season-high 26 points against the Lions on 9-of-16 shooting. He added six rebounds and four assists plus a steal. Piccinini now has 15 or more points in all four of the team's games this season.
Senior Jason Seymore notched his second double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The forward hit 6-of-10 from the field, all three of his three-point attempts, and all five of his free throws. He led the team with four steals on the night while adding three assists.
Freshman Malcolm St. Louis (Lebanon, Tenn.) scored a career-high 13 points in the win while adding a block and a steal. James Scales (Rodgersville, Tenn.) dished out a team best six assists in 15 minutes of action down the stretch.
Mars Hill had a hot set of hands in the first half shooting just above 47 percent from the field and just under that mark from three-point land. In the second half, those percentages fell to 30.0 and 22.2, respectively, and the Lions struggled at the free throw line with only five makes on 19 attempts.
Five players hit double figures in scoring for the Lions, led by Khouraichi Thiam (15). He also shared the lead for rebounds with Will White, both posting eight. Thiam registered four blocks on defense to lead the team in that category.
King improves to 4-0 with the win and will hop back into Conference Carolinas play as they finish their ongoing road trip in Mount Olive, N.C. to play the Trojans on Nov. 27. The Tornado will play host to Queens (N.C.) on Dec. 1 in their next home game inside the Student Center Complex. Tipoff for both games is set for 7:30 p.m.