DUE WEST, S.C. – It may not always be pretty, but it doesn't matter when it comes to winning conference games, especially on the road. The King University men's basketball team made a 10 point halftime lead hold up as they hung on late to take a 61-52 win at Erskine College to open Conference Carolinas play.
The Flying Fleet (5-4, 0-1 CC) jumped out to an early 8-5 lead before Drew Standifer made a jump shot, and James Scales made three free throws to give King a 10-8 lead with just under 14 minutes remaining in the first half. On the next possession, George Wood made a three-point basket to give Erskine an 11-10 lead, but Hunter LeVeau answered with a triple to give King a lead they would not relinquish with 12:44 left in the first half.
Scottie Hendricks followed LeVeau's triple with his first of the game before LeVeau hit a jumper and Logan Lyle capped what was a 10-0 run with a jump shot of his own to give King a 20-11 lead. The teams then traded baskets the rest of the first half as the Tornado (3-4, 1-0 CC) held a 29-19 lead at the break.
The Flying Fleet opened the second half on a roll as they nailed back-to-back three-point baskets to pull within 30-25 of the Tornado. However, Hendricks had an answer as he took a pass from Michael Fortune with the shot clock running down and drilled a three-point basket as it expired to thwart the momentum Erskine had built. On the next possession, Hendricks connected on another triple to extend King's lead to 36-25 with just more than 17 minutes remaining.
Later in the half, Hendricks beat the shot clock buzzer again with his fourth triple of the game to give King a 45-33 lead with a less than 11 minutes remaining. The Tornado lead grew to as many as 13 points at 59-46 with 3:34 remaining before the Flying Fleet made an attempt to come back. Erskine got within seven points, but C.J. Good made a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining to ice the 61-52 win.
King shot 36.1 percent from the floor while holding Erskine to a 34.7 field goal percentage. Both teams made 10 three-point baskets as King shot 29.4 percent from long range and the Flying Fleet made 32.3 percent of their shot from beyond the arc. King also had the rebounding edge, grabbing 45 boards to Erskine's 35.
Lyle led King with 14 points while Hendricks followed with 12 points. LeVeau grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to go along with six points. LeVeau also snagged a team-high five steals.
The Tornado return home on Saturday when they host rival Lees-McRae College at the Student Center Complex. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.