PIKEVILLE – Led by a game-high 20 points from K.K. Simmons, the second-ranked University of Pikeville men’s basketball team returned to Mid-South Conference play in style, routing No. 15 Lindsey Wilson 98-63 on Thursday in the East Kentucky Expo Center.
The Bears (15-1, 2-1 MSC) looked worlds away from the team that lost its previous conference matchup as they pushed their winning streak to five games since losing to Cumberlands in early-December.
A season-best performance from behind the arc didn’t hurt as UPIKE scorched the nets at 61.9 percent. Simmons led the way going 5 for 7, while Macari Brooks was a perfect 2 for 2 and Dmitri Reaves came off the bench to make 3 of 4 long-range bombs.
While the Bears seemed unable to miss, Lindsey Wilson (11-4, 3-1 MSC) went from making four threes in the first half, to making just 1 of 9 in the second. For the game, the Blue Raiders shot just 43.4 percent from the field, compared to 56.3 for UPIKE.
The action was close for about 10 minutes as Kevin Windley’s jumper off a UPIKE turnover got Lindsey Wilson within two at 21-19 with 10:27 left in the first half. After that make, the Bears went on a 19-3 run over a five-minute span to essentially put the game away.
It was a 20-point game at halftime at 53-33 and Lindsey Wilson never got closer as the Bears scored the first eight points of the second half. The lead reached its apex on the final bucket when Jacob Freeze’s jumper in the paint put UPIKE up by 35.
Christian Leach chipped in with 18 points off the bench for the Bears, while Brooks and Reaves joined him in double figures with 11 points each. Jackson Hussey, who is playing his best basketball of the season as of late, added nine points, a game-best seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Charles Sutton paced Lindsey Wilson with 14 points, followed by Dmitry Utolin with 12. Utolin and Bryan Wallace led them on the glass with five boards each as UPIKE dominated that category as a team 40-25.