KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A 14-point second-half lead for No. 2 seed University of Pikeville was erased by a pair of late runs by seventh-seeded William Jessup (Calif.), leading to an 82-69 upset win for the Warriors in the first round of the NAIA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday.
It was a 44-30 UPIKE (25-6) lead with just under 17 minutes to play, but William Jessup outscored it 19-3 over the next six minutes, taking its first lead since it was 19-18 in the first half.
From that point on, the Warriors (19-10) were simply better on offense than the Bears, outscoring them 33-22, and were better on the glass, finishing with a 49-34 edge to pull off the comeback win.
William Jessup scored 54 second-half points and shot 47 percent from the field, compared to a 32.8 percent showing from UPIKE. The Bears, who shot 40 percent from three on the season, couldn’t get heated up in Municipal Auditorium, hitting just 1 of 19.
Seniors K.K. Simmons and Macari Brooks did the bulk of the damage on offense, scoring 23 and 21 points, respectively. Their classmate, Christian Leach, chipped in eight points and five rebounds.
Desmond Floyd paced the Warriors with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The game started with William Jessup rushing out to a nine-point lead at 15-6, but the Bears answered with an 18-6 run and used that momentum to take a 36-28 lead into halftime. UPIKE stayed hot in the second half, scoring eight of the first 10 points before going cold after building a 14-point lead.