PIKEVILLE – Macari Brooks poured in 28 points to help the 2nd-ranked University of Pikeville men’s basketball team improve its home winning streak to 44 games with a 104-71 win over visiting Montreat College in the East Kentucky Expo Center on Tuesday night.
While Brooks shined with the high point total and K.K. Simmons chipped in with 20 points and four 3-pointers, credit the Cavaliers for giving the Bears their first true challenge of the season as it was only a 3-point game with a minute left in the first half.
Eventually the tide started to turn in the Bears’ favor once they wore Montreat down with depth and athleticism, pushing ahead by 19 points 10 minutes into the second half on a three from Brooks, one of two he hit on the night.
The lead was still 19 with just under four minutes to play at 89-70, but the Cavaliers started having real trouble taking care of the ball, allowing UPIKE to go on a 15-1 run to end up at the final 33-point margin.
Montreat got 18 points from Amir Davis and 15 from Ryan Bethoney to lead the upset effort as the team stayed in the game with five 3-pointers in the first half.
The Cavaliers best moment came at the eight-minute mark of the opening half when it started an 11-0 that eventually gave them their first lead at 32-30 on a Davis 3-pointer. They pushed ahead by as many as five points, but the Bears outscored them 20-4 over the final four minutes of the half to take control.
Nine points was as close as Montreat would come the rest of the way as they spend the majority of the second half trailing in the 20’s.
Montreat outrebounded UPIKE 42-37, but turned the ball over 23 times, compared to just nine giveaways for the Bears. Add in UPIKE outshooting the Cavs 48.4 to 38.1 percent from the field and it’s easy to see how UPIKE pulled away.
The Bears will return to action at 8 p.m. on Friday against Ohio-Chillicothe in the Danny VanHoose Classic at the East Kentucky Expo Center.