PIKEVILLE – Bruce Reed led all scorers with 26 points and Josh Whitaker chipped in 22 to lead the top-seeded University of Pikeville past No.8-seed Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 78-72 in the first round of the 2014 MSC Men’s Basketball Championship presented by GoJohnnyGo 5K/10K Run/Walk on Thursday at Dallas Floyd Gymnasium.
The Bears improve to 28-2 overall, while Lindsey Wilson’s season ends with a 16-15 overall record and 7-11 mark in MSC play.
D’On Hall paced the Blue Raiders with 19 points, followed by Daronte’ Clark with 16, including four 3-pointers, and Tony Horne finished with 15. With hot shooting, Pikeville at 51 percent and Lindsey Wilson at 46, there weren’t many rebounds with the Bears leading 33-21 on the glass.
Reed helped Pikeville reach that total with 11 rebounds, giving him his sixth double-double of the season. Neither team could take care of the ball as UPIKE had 18 turnovers with eight assists and Lindsey Wilson gave up 19 turnovers with 11 assists.
Lindsey Wilson got the quick start it wanted after taking a 5-0 lead on two technical free throws for pregame dunking and a three from Clark. Reed cut it to a one-point lead with a jumper and two free throws but the Blue Raiders stayed on top with easy baskets.
Horne went on a 6-0 run by himself and Mayfield went to the rack for six straight points as well to give Lindsey Wilson a 17-10 lead eight minutes into the first half. The Blue Raiders kept their momentum by scoring seven of the next nine points, including a pull-up three from Clark to take the biggest lead yet at 12 points.
Pikeville took a full timeout to try and disrupt the momentum, and it worked as the Bears went on a 14-0 run to take the lead for the first time at 25-24 on a free throw from King. Whitaker connected on UPIKE’s first three of the half a minute later and suddenly it was a 29-25 Pikeville lead.
At its apex, the Bears’ run reached 19-1, turning a 12-point deficit into a six-point lead in just six minutes. Manigault completed a 3-point play in the final seconds of the half to give Pikeville its largest lead of nine before taking a 38-31 advantage into halftime.
After UPIKE scored the first bucket of the second half, Lindsey Wilson got itself back in the game with a 10-0 run, eventually tying the score at 44 all on another Clark 3-pointer. Whitaker had to go to work for Pikeville to keep it on top, finishing a layup and drilling a 3-pointer to put the Bears up two.
Momentum stayed with Pikeville as it built a 12-point lead in the final three minutes on a three from Whitaker. But the Blue Raiders were determined not to go away quietly, hitting back-to-back triples to get within six.
The Blue Raiders sent King to the line for a couple of makes, but Chase Cox looped around the top of the key for a deep 3-pointer to keep things interesting at 72-67 with 1:20 left. The Bears took care of business from the stripe down the stretch, never letting Lindsey Wilson get closer than four to move into the semifinals.