BRISTOL, Tenn. – King Men's Basketball completed the sweep of Monday's basketball doubleheader over the Lees-McRae Bobcats. Behind a strong defensive effort that limited the Bobcats to 25.8 percent field goal shooting on the night and led by senior Jason Seymore's seventh double-double of the season, the nationally-recognized Tornado beat Lees-McRae, 72-48, holding the Bobcats to the lowest point total of any King opponent this season.
King (12-3, 7-2) held Lees-McRae to six field goals and only 20 percent shooting in the first half. The Tornado complimented their defensive stronghold on the Bobcats by running out to an early 14-2 run to open the game via five different scorers. Jason Seymore got the ball rolling in King's direction after stealing the ball from Chad Eppley and hitting a layup on the fast break. After a miss by Gideon Oji, Seymore corralled the rebound and hit a three pointer on the other end to make for a seven-point advantage, 9-2.
Seymore and fellow senior Eddie Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) solidified an early double-digit lead with back-to-back treys, pushing the lead to 15 points, 24-9 with 6:00 to go. Despite being held to 28 first-half points, Lees-McRae's offensive struggles helped King to a 28-16 halftime lead.
Head Coach George Pitts and the Tornado kept a rotation of fresh bodies in the game that they used to push the tempo and get the offense going toward 44 second-half points. The trio of Logan Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.), Piccinini and Seymore helped build King's lead to 21 points through a 13-5 rally on four consecutive made buckets. King continued to pour it on in the second half when another set of back-to-back makes by Piccinini led to the team's largest lead of the game, 28, and a 59-31 score with 4:13 remaining.
In the second half alone, King had 11 different players score and nine pull down rebounds. Of Seymore's 15 rebounds, nine came in the second half. He finished with a game-high 16 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, good for his seventh double-double of the season. He now has double-digit rebound and point totals in four of his last six games and has scored in double digits in seven of his last eight games.
Eddie Piccinini was the only other King player to score in double digits, posting 10 points in the win. Logan Lyle and sophomore Jordan Steele (Knoxville, Tenn.) each had nine points. His nine points marked a new career high for Steele, who played in his third game of the season and played the most minutes (12) in a single contest to date.
King committed only five turnovers on the day, marking the fewest in a single game this season and bettering their previous game by 14 turnovers. As a team, they also set a new season-high in blocks after knocking seven shots out of the air on Monday. Freshmen Aaron Wheeler (Morristown, Tenn.) and Drew Standifer (Knoxville, Tenn.) joined Brandon Crompton (Hurricane, W.Va.) with two blocks each on the night.
The Bobcats were led by Asad Lamot's 15 points, 12 coming from three pointers. Daniel Sepokas followed with 13 points and was one rebound away from a double-double. Lees-McRae shot just 25.8 percent for the game, 16.7 percent from three-point range.
The win completed the night's sweep of the Bobcats in the basketball doubleheader following the Lady Tornado's 61-44 victory earlier in the evening. With both teams defeating LMC, they increase their lead in the inaugural battle for the Blue Ridge Cup, 6-2. A third point will be on the line this week when the Tornado and Bobcats meet on the volleyball court this Wednesday, Jan. 23.
King's next game will be at home against the Limestone Saints on Jan. 24 during Military/Veteran Appreciation Night. All active, reserve, and military veterans and their families will be granted free admission for Thursday's game. Tipoff for the men's game is set for 7:30 p.m., following the Lady Tornado/Saints contest.
Thursday also marks the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Make-a-Wish Night. SAAC has adopted a local youth in an attempt to grant her wish to go to her favorite Disney park. Special 'support stars' and t-shirts will be sold before and during both the women's and men's basketball games to help raise money to grant 'Kellan' her wish.