MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Colt Chapman led top-ranked University of Pikeville with 21 points and Christian Leach chipped in with 20 to help the Bears to a 101-81 win on the road at Faulkner on Tuesday.
Jackson Hussey and K.K. Simmons finished with 16 points each and Trey Rakes tallied 13 as the five Bears who reached double figures. Hussey also led the team on the boards with nine rebounds.
Faulkner’s Di’mar Hill led all scorers with 33 points, while Nick Drake backed him up with 19, including three 3-pointers.
After only hitting three 3-pointers itself in the first half, UPIKE caught fire in the second, making 8 of 13 to finish the game shooting 59.3 percent from the field. That mark was bolstered by the Bears’ incredible 70 percent (21-30) showing in the second half.
The Eagles shot 44.6 percent from the field and made just 22 of 35 free throws, compared to a solid 20 of 26 showing by UPIKE. The Bears also controlled the backboards, 39-24,
UPIKE got a glimpse of what a lead would feel like very early in the action, but for nearly all the first half and the start of the second, Faulkner was in control. Sometimes though, it pays to wait, as the Bears’ second-half reward was a run that the Eagles won’t soon forget.
After trailing for 22 minutes, Simmons gave the lead back to the Bears at 62-61 with a three. The Eagles tied it back up with a free throw, but things swayed back to the Bears in a big way with a 19-2 run that effectively ended Faulkner’s upset hopes.
It had to be a tough pill to swallow giving how well the Eagles had played, but there was nothing it could do with the kind of hot streak the Bears went on.
Simmons made another three to push the lead to 66-62, one of 10 straight field goals made by UPIKE without a miss over a five minute span. When Marshall Bennett finally missed a three with 6:43 to play, the Bears held an 87-65 advantage.
The play that seemed to spearhead the run was an offensive rebound by Chapman off a missed free throw. Simmons made the first to put UPIKE up 63-62, then connected on a three right after the miss that Chapman kept alive. The rest is history as UPIKE led by 20 or more the rest of the way.
UPIKE’s last lead in the first half came at 6-5 when Chapman finished a fast-break layup off a pass from Trey Rakes. After that, Faulkner rattled off a 10-0 run lasting just under two minutes, including five points from Hill, to lead 15-6.
Hill finished with 22 points in the first half alone as he made 10 free throws and shot 6 of 9 from the field.
Simmons ended the drought with a three, but the Bears scored just two more points over the next five minutes. Starting with a basket from Leach at the 10-minute mark, UPIKE’s fortunes finally changed as an 8-2 spurt got it back within four at 23-19.
The good vibes were short lived though as Drake knocked down back-to-back threes to put the Eagles back up by 10. After the two long-range baskets, the Bears could only chip away at the deficit the rest of the half.
UPIKE trimmed it to as few as three points on multiple occasions before going into the break down 43-40 after a shot from Leach just before time expired.
Faulkner hit at nearly 47 percent from long distance in the half, connecting on 7 of 15 threes, but was outshot from the field 46-43 percent and outrebounded 17-14.