FRANKFORT – Bryan Wallace curled around a screen at the top of the key and buried a 3-pointer with two seconds left to lift No. 7-seed Lindsey Wilson to a 72-71 upset of second-seeded University of Pikeville in the Mid-South Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Friday.
Trey Rakes had put the Bears up by two with an up-and-under layup 20 seconds earlier, but the Blue Raiders got the look they wanted as leading-scorer Dmitry Utolin passed off to Wallace for the game winner.
UPIKE (25-5) got a decent look before time expired as Jackson Hussey inbounded near half court, then received the pass back for a heave that was a little too strong.
The Bears will now wait to hear their postseason fate as they expect to receive an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The bracket is scheduled to be released at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 9.
UPIKE opened the game with a three from Macari Brooks and two free throws from Simmons to take a 5-0 lead. But over the next several minutes, Lindsey Wilson (17-13) outscored the Bears 14-6 to take a 14-11 lead on an Utolin three.
With Lindsey on a roll, the Bears needed a spark and got it in the form of Dmitri Reaves off the bench. The junior came in and immediately finished a layup through a foul. Shortly thereafter, K.K. Simmons added two more freebies and the lead was back in UPIKE’s hands at 15-14.
The final 10 minutes of the first half were fairly even outside of two Lindsey Wilson runs that helped it to leads of six and five points. On the latter, with LWC up 31-26, the Bears closed with a fury, outscoring the Blue Raiders 9-2 to take a 35-33 lead into halftime.
Colt Chapman and Christian Leach were the catalysts of UPIKE’s late surge as they added four points each on jumpers and two free throws.
With 10:47 left to play and the Bears clinging to a 50-48 lead, Leach put the team on his back. The senior all-conference performer put on a show, scoring eight straight points in just two minutes to put his team up 58-51.
With its season on the line, Lindsey Wilson wasn’t looking to go away easily as it went on a 9-3 spurt of its own to get within one at 63-62 with just over five minutes to play.
Neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way as Rakes provided the biggest advantage at 68-64 on his only three of the game. LWC outscored the Bears 5-1 after that make, including a jumper from Wallace in the final minute to tie it at 69.
Leach paced UPIKE with 24 points, while Simmons and Chapman chipped in with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Chapman also added a game-high nine rebounds. Utolin led Lindsey Wilson with 20 points and Wallace added 17.
Both teams shot 45 percent from the field and UPIKE controlled the glass 39-28, but the Blue Raiders made five more 3-pointers and turned the ball over six less times to steal the win.