PIKEVILLE – Five players reached double figures as the University of Pikeville continued shooting at a torrid pace in a 108-72 win in its home opener over Knoxville College Tuesday night.
Pikeville (2-0), ranked No. 9 in NAIA Div. I, will play one more exhibition game on Thursday night, traveling to the KFC Yum! Center to play NCAA Div. I No. 2 University of Louisville. The Bears will then come home to host the BB&T Classic on Saturday and Sunday at the Expo Center.
Coach Kelly Wells’ club ripped the nets for 70.3 percent in the first half, hitting 7-of-10 three-point shots to explode to a 63-30 halftime lead. The Bears cooled in the second half as everyone in uniform played at least a dozen minutes but still shot 54.5 percent for the night and reached the 100-point plateau for the second time in as many games.
The Bears are shooting 56.7 percent for the season from the field.
The Bears overcame 23 turnovers by forcing 35 of their own. Nearly all were forced by the pesky UPIKE backcourt as the home team recorded 26 steals.
Senior Jamar “Deuce” Briscoe led all scorers with 26 markers. He had 19 by the 6:41 mark of the first half to help the Bears build a 49-19 lead. The Charlotte transfer was 11-of-14 from the floor and added five steals and four assists.
He was followed by senior Trevor Setty, who flipped in 18 while pulling nine rebounds and handing out four assists. Senior guard Chris Johnson missed only two of nine shots to compile 14 while handing out nine assists and picking up five steals.
Junior guard Josh Whitaker, with Setty the only two players remaining from the 2011 national-championship team, had 12 points and four assists to go with a team-best seven steals. Freshman Cody Malicoat had 10 points to go with eight rebounds in the win.
Setty’s nine boards and the eight by Malicoat led the Bears to a 43-41 rebounding edge, despite a starting lineup that consists of four guards and the 6-foot-6 Brandon Greene.
Knoxville was paced by freshman guard Wade Jennings, who had 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Sophomore guard Marcus Smith nailed four three-point shots to finish with 20, while freshman Tevon Tuggle came off the bench to record a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Pikeville held Knoxville to 41 percent shooting from the field, but allowed it to sink 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from the arc.
On Saturday, the BB&T Classic will begin at 6 p.m. with Alice Lloyd College playing Cincinnati-Clermont. The Bears host Ohio-Mid-Western College at 8. The day will begin with the season-opener for the Pikeville women’s team as it hosts WVU Tech at 3 p.m.
Sunday’s games will begin at 2 p.m. with Alice Lloyd playing OMWC. The Bears will close out the BB&T at 4 p.m. against UC-Clermont.