TIGERVILLE, S.C. – In their final game of the regular season, the King University men's basketball team was trying to end their three-game skid and enter the Conference Carolinas Tournament with a win under their belt. Logan Lyle gave the Tornado the win they were looking for as he converted a three-point play with four seconds left to lift King over North Greenville University 77-75 on Tuesday night.
The second half was played tight, but every time North Greenville (14-13, 7-9 CC) neared the lead, the Tornado had an answer. The Crusaders evened the score, and took their first lead of the game at 75-74 with a three-point play with 36 seconds left. Lyle had his first shot attempt with 21 seconds rejected, before C.J. Good misfired on three-point attempt, but the Tornado got the offense rebound and called timeout with 15 seconds left.
Out of the timeout, Lyle took a jump shot from the paint with four seconds left. The shot found the bottom of the net, and he was fouled. The junior converted the free throw to give King a two point lead. North Greenville's final shot came up short to give King the win.
The first half was dominated by King (14-12, 11-5) as they took the lead from the onset and quickly extended it. Shamarae Watts started a 10-0 run with a bucket six minutes into the contest. He followed with a pair of free throws before Good and Hunter LeVeau knocked down consecutive three-point baskets to stretch the King lead to 17-6.
The Crusaders cut the deficit to 23-19 with eight minutes left in the first half, but Michael Fortune answered with four straight points to extend the lead back to eight. Lyle started a quick 7-0 run with tip-in that was followed by a Nathanael Hughes jumper. Good capped the spurt with a three-point basket to give King a 39-26 advantage with five minutes left in the first half. Drew Standifer gave the Tornado their largest lead of the game, 46-32 when he converted a jump shot with two minutes left in the first half.
King held a 46-37 lead at halftime, and after Fortune drilled a triple on the other side of the break the Crusaders went on a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to just three at 49-46. The game was then played within a six point margin the rest of the way as the Tornado escaped with the narrow win.
Lyle led the Tornado with 17 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double. LeVeau followed with 15 points and Good added 12 points while James Scales and Fortune both handed out four assists.
With the victory, King will be the No. 3 seed in the Conference Carolinas Tournament and host a quarterfinal game on Saturday at the Student Center Complex. King will host either Erskine College or North Greenville, depending on the outcome of the Erskine game against Pfeiffer University on Thursday night. Tipoff will be at 7:30 p.m., following the women's game.
The Conference Carolinas Tournament "Final Four" will be played at Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C., on March 5-6. The semifinals will take place on March 5 with the finals to follow on March 6.