Tornado Topple Bobcats, 72-51
The Tornado offense exploded for 40 points in the second half hitting 40 percent of their three-point attempts and 10-of-14 free throw attempts. Fifteen of Piccinini's 19 points came in the second half after the junior hit 5-of-8 from the field and four free throws.
King (14-3, 5-0) jumped out to an 18-3 lead over the first eight minutes of the game. Senior Brian Hewitt (Lexington, Ky.), fresh off a 34-point performance, hit the game's first bucket on a deep three from the top of the key and sunk his first three long-range attempts on the way to helping the Tornado build a 26-5 lead at they approached the eight-minute mark.
The 21-point lead was cut to nine by the end of the half with a LMC 16-5 run caused by five King turnovers and the Tornado beginning to struggle shooting. King's nine-point lead was the closest the game would be, leading 32-23 at the half. King began the second half nearly as well as it had the first half, jumping out on a 13-4 run and increasing their lead to 18 points. They built as large as a 27-point lead with 3:04 remaining in the game behind a 54.2 percent shooting effort in the second half.
Fourteen of the Tornado's 40 second-half points were scored off of 11 LMC turnovers to help break away in the win. Lio Gideon set a new career-high with 13 rebounds, eight on the defensive end, while contributing three points in 25 minutes. His five offensive rebounds helped toward 17 second-chance points to the Bobcats' seven.
Hewitt and junior guard Brandon Goss (St. Louis, Mo.) each had 13 points and combined for eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. All four of Hewitt's field goals were from three-point range. Piccinini, an Orland, Fla. native, began a new run of double-digit scoring games after having his previous streak of nine consecutive games with 10 or more points broken in a win over Coker College (Jan. 14). Hewitt extended his streak of the same kind to eight games, dating back to Dec. 10.
The Tornado extend their current winning streak to six games and remain unbeaten in Conference Carolinas play (5-0). They have beaten three of their five league opponents by double digits and have an average win margin of 15.8 points. They will engage the Barton College Bulldogs this Saturday, Jan. 21, in the twilight of a men's / women's basketball doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. from the Student Center Complex (Bristol, Tenn.).