PIKEVILLE – It was all smiles in the East Kentucky Expo Center Monday night as the top-ranked University of Pikeville men’s basketball team had its best offensive showing of the season in a 126-70 win over Carlow (Pa.).
Among the season highs were the 126 points, 48 field goals, 14 3-pointers and 58.3 3-point percentage (14-24).
Three Bears (11-1) finished with 16 points, including starters K.K. Simmons and Macari Brooks, along with Jackson Hussey off the bench. Brooks finished with a double-double, adding 11 rebounds, and first-time starter Daniel Afeaki nearly joined him with seven points and 11 boards.
UPIKE’s steady 3-point shooting helped it lead by as many as 34 points in the first half. For the game, Simmons was 4 for 5 from behind the arc, Rakes 3 of 5, Dmitri Reaves 3 of 6 and Hussey a perfect 2 for 2. The Bears outscored the Celtics 20-4 over the final five minutes of the first half.
It took about five minutes for the Bears to get going again in the second half, then they had a 14-5 run, followed by a 12-4 spurt shortly thereafter to blow things open.
P.J. McLaughlin did his best to keep Carlow (3-9) competitive, finishing with a game-high 19 points as the only Celtic to reach double figures. He also led the team with 10 rebounds, but UPIKE dominated the glass overall 56-28.
With UPIKE seemingly unable to miss, Carlow struggled from deep with a 5-of-23 showing while also giving the ball up 23 times, leading to a 27-9 Bear advantage in points off turnovers.
It was a steady domination from UPIKE as it slowly built its lead rather than going on any huge scoring runs. It’s largest lead of the first half came on its last point, an Afeaki free throw, and the largest lead of the game came on Uzonna Akazi’s final basket of the game with 22 seconds on the clock.