BRISTOL, Tenn. – Rivalry games are always tough, but the King University men's basketball team came out on top when they squared off with Lees-McRae College on Wednesday night. The Tornado fell behind early, but fought back to take the lead late in the second half and held off a Bobcat run to take the 85-81 victory.
FINAL SCORE: King 85, Lees-McRae 81
LOCATION: Student Center Complex; Bristol, Tenn.
RECORDS: King 6-1, 1-0 Conference Carolinas; Lees-McRae 6-2, 1-1 Conference Carolinas
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Lees-McRae got off to a hot start, taking a 15-5 lead in the opening three minutes.
- Josh Releford drilled a triple to end the spurt and get King back on the board.
- The teams then traded blows in the first half, King would pull within a few points, but the Bobcats had an answer each time to extend their lead.
- King trailed 36-28, but closed the half on an 8-5 run as Jordan Floyd converted a three-point play to pull King within 41-36 at the half.
- The Tornado opened the second half on fire as a Mike Salomon triple pulled King within two.
- Damion Ottman later gave King their first lead since the opening minute of the game when he drilled a triple that vaulted King into a 51-50 lead with 16 minutes remaining.
- Salomon extended the lead to 56-51 with a triple before the Bobcats came back to pull within two.
- The lead stayed there until Justin Frazier drilled a triple that started a 7-0 King lead.
- James Brown and Ottman followed with baskets to give King their largest lead of the game at 76-64 with five minutes remaining.
- However, the Bobcats had a run left as the pulled within 79-77 following a Jerick Haynes three-point play.
- The King lead was cut to 82-81 following a pair of free throws with 39 seconds remaining.
- However, a Brown free throw and two from Ottman with eight seconds left iced the 85-81 Tornado victory.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Floyd led King with 31 points, six rebounds and three assists.
- Ottman followed with 16 points and nine rebounds.
- Salomon added 16 points and eight rebounds.
FOR THE FOES
- Kamil Williams led Lees-McRae with 30 points and seven rebounds.
- Haynes followed with 14 points and Quay Kimble added 12 points and eight rebounds.
- Andrew Gardner chipped in with 11 points.
- King returns to the court on Saturday when they take on Belmont Abbey College at 4:00 p.m. in the Student Center Complex.
- Lees-McRae hosts Piedmont International on Saturday.