BLUEFIELD, Va. – All five starters reached double figures and senior Trevor Setty recorded his second double-double of the season as No. 4 Pikeville knocked off Bluefield College 85-70 on Saturday afternoon at Dome Gymnasium.
Pikeville’s win – combined with No. 2 Cumberlands holding on for an 81-79 win over St. Catharine – sets the stage for a titanic matchup at the East Kentucky Expo Center on Thursday night. The teams will bring identical 15-1 worksheets to the arena for an 8 p.m. tip between the top teams in the Mid-South Conference. Cumberlands is atop the standings at 6-0 in the league; the Bears are 5-1.
Setty had 15 points and 13 rebounds, four of which came off the offensive glass. His points came thanks to going 9-of-10 from the free throw line as the Bears won on a day they struggled to 40.6 percent shooting from the floor.
Senior guard Jamar “Deuce” Briscoe continued his torrid season, finishing with 31 points to go with five rebounds and three assists. It marked the sixth time in 16 games the Baltimore product has reached the 30-point barrier.
Briscoe also was hot from the line, going 7-of-8 as the Bears hit a remarkable 27-of-31 (87.1 percent) from the stripe.
Senior Chris Johnson just missed a double-double of his own, finishing with 12 points and nine assists. He added three steals in the win. Junior Josh Whitaker flipped in 11 while senior Terrance Saintil, who had all four of Pikeville’s blocked shots, scored 10.
Bluefield (6-8, 2-4) got consecutive baskets from sophomore Eric Swift to take a 4-2 lead early, but the Bears answered with nine straight to take a lead they would never lose. Senior Chris Johnson scored the first four, and when Briscoe nailed the first of his four three-point shots with 17:05 to play, the Bears led 11-4.
The edge was 42-36 at the half, and while Bluefield kept it close most of the second half – cutting it to eight four different times late – the Bears pulled away and enjoyed their biggest lead of the day at the end.
Bluefield had four players in double figures, led by junior Kearston Marion’s 15 points and five assists. Senior Byron Carpenter followed with 14 to go with seven rebounds.
Junior Pierre Walters followed with 12 off the bench, while Swift tossed in 11 and filled the stat sheet with six rebounds, five steals and four assists.
Junior Josh Nesbit, who had four rebounds, led the Rams with 10 rebounds as they won that battle 43-41.
While the Bears will prepare for Thursday’s meeting with Cumberlands, Bluefield will meet Lindsey Wilson in Columbia.