BRISTOL, Tenn. – Once up 14 points on the Queens (N.C.) Royals, King fought to the final horn to hold on to a 78-74 win. Logan Lyle led the Tornado with 20 points, sharpshooting his way to be the game's leading scorer. With the win, King remains undefeated by improving to 6-0 overall and earning their third win in conference play by shooting higher than 50 percent from the floor and long range.
King held a 12 point lead with 4:43 to go in the game before Queens went on a 14-2 to tie the game at 73 all. Antonio Stabler was sent to the free throw line six times over the ensuing 2:30 and hit all six shots before his jumper from the left elbow tied the game with 1:33 remaining in the game.
With the Tornado resting in the double bonus, freshman Drew Standifer was fouled and sent to the line where he split the pair of shots to give King a one point lead. Queens had a chance to gain its first lead of the half but Brandon Nichols' jumper missed the mark and was rebounded by junior Michael Fortune (Beckley, W.Va.). Fortune was immediately fouled by Stabler where he hit 1-of-2 free throws, increasing the Tornado lead, 75-73.
Queens had a second chance to tie the game when senior Jason Seymore committed the team's 11th foul to send Stabler to the line once again with 20 seconds remaining. Stabler missed the first of his two free throws before King took a timeout to set up for the next play. Stabler returned and hit the second half of his free throws to make for a one point deficit, 75-74.
Fortune was fouled on the inbound where the junior again split two free throws to regain a two point edge, 76-74. Brandon Nichols brought the ball down the court and went up for a jumper but missed and was rebounded by King, shoring up the win following Aaron Wheeler knocking down two shots from the free throw line to make for the 78-74 final score.
King's largest lead was 14 points, held near the 13-minute mark of the second half when Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) hit one of his six three pointers on the night. With only a four point lead at the half, 29-24, Lyle started the second half with a three from deep in the Student Center. Brent Evans attempted to silence the home crowd with a dunk that rattled the rim and cut the King lead to seven, but Lyle immediately responded with a three ball to acquire the team's first double-digit lead of the game, 39-29.
Behind 18 points in the pain and eight second-chance points, Queens made the game close in the second half before King won the battle of the free throws to seal the win. Despite trailing the Royals in rebounds (35-27) and turnovers caused (15-12), King's superb shooting performance on Saturday led them to their sixth straight win. The Tornado shot 51.2 percent (21-41) from the field and surpassed that margin from long distance, hitting 52 percent of the team's 25 shots on the night.
King was led in team scoring by sophomore Logan Lyle's 20 points. Eighteen of his 20 points were scored from beyond the arc with the remaining two coming from the free throw line. All six of his made field goals were three pointers. He also added five rebounds and an assist.
A total of four King players hit double figures in scoring including Jason Seymore (10), freshman Drew Standifer (11), and senior Eddie Piccinini (10). Piccinini led the Tornado with seven rebounds and shared the team lead in assists (3) with Seymore.
Seymore went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line, accounting for a majority of his total points.
Junior post player Brandon Crompton (Hurricane, W.Va.) scored a season high eight points on a flawless night from the field (3-3), including a three pointer.
Queens (4-2, 2-1) was led by Antonio Stabler who scored 20 points, 12 of which came from the free throw line. Brent Evans scored 16 points and led the Royals with eight rebounds before fouling out of the contest.
King (6-0, 3-0) remains undefeated after the win heading into a stretch of nonconference play. The Tornado and the No. 11 Barton Bulldogs are the only remaining conference schools that are undefeated overall and one of three still without a loss in league play (Limestone, 3-0).
The next three games for the Tornado will be out of conference, beginning with Bluefield State on Dec. 8. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. from the Student Center. The Tornado will then play No. 12 Lincoln Memorial on Dec. 16 in Harrogate, Tenn. before closing out 2012 at USC Aiken on Dec. 30. They will return to conference play on Jan. 3 to play No. 11 Barton College on Jan. 3