BANNER ELK, N.C. – The King University men's basketball team built a sizable lead in the first half at Lees-McRae College. The Bobcats came back in the second half, but the Tornado held on to take the contest 102-98 and win their second Conference Carolinas regular season title in three years.
FINAL SCORE: King 102, Lees-McRae 98
LOCATION: Williams Gymnasium; Banner Elk, N.C.
RECORDS: King 19-9, 14-4 Conference Carolinas; Lees-McRae 20-8, 13-5
HOW IT HAPPENED
- King got off to a hot start, jumping out to an 8-2 lead behind consecutive triples from Mike Salomon and Dontae Campbell.
- However, the Bobcats answered with a 10-0 run to gain the lead, but King had an answer.
- Kalen Clifton capped a 16-2 Tornado run with a dunk, giving the Tornado a 24-16 lead.
- The King lead grew to as many as 14 points in the opening half, and King led 51-38 at the half.
- The Tornado shot well in the first half, posting a 51.3 field goal percentage.
- On the defensive end, King held Lees-McRae to a 34.1 field goal percentage and 36.8 three-point field goal percentage.
- Campbell stretched the King lead to 60-45 with a triple three minutes into the second half.
- That was the largest lead the Tornado would have as the Bobcats started to come back and get the crowd behind them.
- They cut their deficit to 66-62, but a pair of Jordan Floyd free throws and Salomon trifecta quickly pushed the lead back to nine points.
- Another Salomon triple gave King an 80-66 lead before the Bobcats went on another run.
- Lees-McRae went on a 13-4 run, cutting their deficit to 90-89 with 3:35 remaining, but Clifton responded with a bucket.
- The Bobcats then took their first lead since early in the first half on a Rishad Felton three-point basket that gave Lees-McRae a 96-95 lead with 1:26 remaining.
- King answered with five straight free throws to take a 100-96 advantage with 18 seconds remaining.
- Following a Bobcat bucket, Floyd iced the game with two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining to give King the 102-98 victory.
- Floyd had a big second half, scoring 25 points on 14-for-14 shooting from the free throw line. He finished with 36 points, going 15-for-15 from the charity stripe. Floyd added a team-high six assists.
- King went 30-for-40 from the free throw line in the contest, including 24-for-32 in the second half.
- Clifton poured in 19 points and added five rebounds while Salomon added 17 points and nine rebounds.
- Campbell was the final Tornado in double figures with 16 points.
- Shon'Dre Dukes snared 13 rebounds and posted four blocks in the contest.
FOR THE FOES
- Lepreece Lynch led Lees-McRae with 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
- Quay Kimble added 17 points, five rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
- Kamil Williams chipped in with 14 points off the bench.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- The win gives King the Conference Carolinas regular season title, their second in the last three years, and the top seed in the Conference Carolinas Tournament.
- The Tornado won both the regular season and tournament titles in 2015-16.
- Floyd scored a career-high 36 points and his 15 free throws are third most makes in a game in school history.
- Clifton posted a season-high 19 points.
- King will host the Conference Carolinas quarterfinal on Tuesday night when they take on eight seed Belmont Abbey College at 7:00 p.m. in the Student Center Complex.
- Lees-McRae will be the second seed in the Conference Carolinas Tournament and will host seventh seed Erskine College on Tuesday night.