COLUMBIA – Keala King scored a game-high 21 points to lead the University of Pikeville past Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 78-70 on Saturday at Biggers Sports Center. The Bears improve to 21-2 overall, their best start in over 11 years.
King was joined in double figures by Bruce Reed (18), Josh Whitaker (14) and Elisha Justice (11), while King and Chris Cantino grabbed five rebounds each. The Bears collected just 26 rebounds for the game, a season low, compared to 32 for the Blue Raiders.
Keshaun Mayfield led Lindsey Wilson (12-13, 3-10 MSC) with 13 points and Anthony Crenshaw chipped in with 12. Tyrie Orosco’s 11 rebounds led the game as no other Blue Raiders had more than three.
After being beat on the boards and hitting just 23-of-38 free throws, Pikeville (21-2, 11-1) needed its strong shooting night, hitting at 58.1 percent from the field while limiting Lindsey Wilson to 44. The Blue Raiders led briefly in the second half and cut the deficit to four late with the help of 9-of-20 shooting from behind the arc.
UPIKE built a 12-7 lead to start the game but went on a two-minute drought without a basket that allowed the Blue Raiders to tie the score at 12 on a free-throw by D’on Hall. It stayed knotted up until a three from Mayfield gave Lindsey Wilson its first lead at 17-15.
It didn’t last long as Whitaker knocked down one on the next trip to go back up 18-17, the shot prompted a 9-2 Bear run that ended with a 3-pointer from King to give Pikeville a 27-19 lead.
Before the Bears could pull away, Lindsey Wilson got threes from Mayfield and Roderick Clark to cut the deficit to four at 29-25. Pikeville led by five in the final two minutes, but the Blue Raiders reeled off a quick 6-0 run to take a 34-33 lead into the break.
UPIKE gained the lead back early in the second half as Reed opened with a 3-point play, then King completed one two minutes later to put the Bears up by two.
With 11:41 to play, Whitaker hit a jumper to put the Bears up 50-48 that started a 9-0 run. Four points is as close as Lindsey Wilson would get the rest of the way. UPIKE got a jumper in the paint from Whitaker to take a 71-62 lead, then the Blue Raiders settled on a free-throw contest the rest of the way.
Mayfield fouled Whitaker with 1:04 on the clock in a six-point game and he hit just one of two. In a shot that might have settled the game, Daronte Clark’s three hit every part of the rim before rolling off. The Bears countered with two Kenny Manigault free throws and finished off the win.
Pikeville will jump back into Mid-South Conference play at 8 p.m. on Thursday against Cumberlands (Ky.) at the East Kentucky Expo Center.