AVE MARIA, Fla. – The top-ranked University of Pikeville men’s basketball team is heading home from Florida in style after topping Ave Maria 75-58 on Monday, finishing a perfect three-game road swing heading into the return of Mid-South Conference play.
Jackson Hussey led all players with a career-high 22 points, while Colt Chapman and K.K. Simmons chipped in with 15 and 14, respectively. Twelve of Simmons’ total came from behind the arc with a 4-of-7 showing from three.
The teams shot a similar percentage from the field with the Bears leading 44-41 percent and hitting one more 3-pointer with eight. The difference came down to turnovers, where the Gyrenes led 16-11, and the Bears’ 36-23 advantage in rebounds.
UPIKE outscored Ave Maria 40-26 in the paint as it controlled the offensive glass 12-2.
Ave Maria got a team-best 13 points from Brandon Dean who went 4 of 13 from the field, but hit three 3-pointers. Exor Torres added 12 points, hitting 2 of 3 shots from behind the arc.
Hussey and Chapman knocked down threes in the first seven minutes to help the Bears build a 15-5 lead. They never trailed and pushed ahead by as many as 17 points in the first half on Simmons’ three to make it 39-22 with 2:15 on the clock.
The Gyrenes used a 7-1 run early in the second half to get back within 10, but it failed to push any closer.
The deficit was back up to 17 points with three minutes to play after another Simmons’ three and reached 18 after Hussey and Chapman combined to hit four straight free throws.