School Record and Tigers Tumble to Tornado

*photo courtesy of Katie Bowles
*photo courtesy of Katie Bowles
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Behind Eddie Piccinini's seven made three pointers and season-high 24 points, the Tornado closed out the year with a demonstrative 102-84 win over Salem International University on Friday afternoon and broke a school record for team threes made in a game.

The junior captain helped the Tornado jump out to a 50-34 first-half lead behind 17 points in the opening 20 minutes. Piccinini hit five of his seven three-point makes in the first half on nine attempts and added another two pointer plus three rebounds in the opening half to lead King. Brian Hewitt (Lexington, Ky.) supported the onslaught with 11 first-half points and Brandon Goss went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. Those three combined players combined for 37 of the team's 50 points in the opening half and did not break stride in the second.

The Tornado lead once hit 36 points with nearly eight minutes remaining in the game after Hewitt hit his final of five threes. With the score 86-50 and the game well in hand, the Tigers continued to claw at the King defense to end the game down only 18 points. Marcus Ludy hit a pair of 30-plus foot three-point shots to cut the lead to fewer than 20 as the game wound down and the Tornado let some new faces hit the floor for some valuable playing time. Eleven different players found the score sheet in the second half alone, led by Michael Fortune's nine second half points.

The sophomore from Beckley, W.Va. 17 points and was one of six King players to shoot 50 percent or better with more than seven attempts from the field. Five players hit double figures in scoring including Piccinini (24), Fortune (17), Hewitt (18), Goss (13) and freshman Logan Lyle (10).

King (9-3) broke a team record that stood for only a season and a half, hitting 20 three-point field goals in a single game. The previous record was 19 set by the 2010 squad against Virginia Intermont (Feb. 6). The team hit 52.6 percent of their three-point attempts, nearly 13 percent short of the current record set in 2007.

Lyle (Unicoi, Tenn.) led the Tornado in rebounding with six boards to accompany his ten points. Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) went 5-for-7 from the field with 13 points, five assists and five rebounds. The effort served as his third straight 10-plus point game coming one point short of matching his season-high 14 points he set against Lincoln Memorial on Dec. 17. Piccinini (Orlando, Fla.) set a new season-high in total points (24), his second 20-plus point game of the season and sixth straight double-digit point game. He went 7-for-13 (.538)

The Tornado were plus-10 in the rebounding battle, leading to 19 second chance points for the Navy and Scarlett.

Center Walter Brock led Salem International with 15 points on 11-of-12 from the free throw line and 2-for-7 shooting from the field. Three Tigers found themselves in double digits scoring and Juanito Moises led the Green and White with 10 rebounds.

With the win, King improves to 9-3 overall and closes the book on its non-conference schedule. They will jump back into Conference Carolinas play on the road against North Greenville on Jan. 3 at Hayes Gymnasium (Tigerville, S.C.) for a 7:30 tipoff.