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King University News :: King too much for Appalachian State, 87-76

BOONE, N.C. - King College stormed over NCAA Division I Appalachian State (N.C.) University 87-76 Monday in the program's first win over the Mountaineers.

It took King 15 tries to beat Appalachian State, but that changed Monday for King. The closest King came to beating Appalachian State was a 41-40 setback in the 1941-42 season.

King went to 13-4 while Appalachian State has a 12-10 record after the game. It had been since 1986 since Appalachian State lost to a team outside the NCAA Division I ranks.

Clarence Smith (Nashville, Tenn.) posted his third double-double of the season with a 22 point and 13 rebound performance. It was the third time he had scored 20 or more in a game.

A 19 point lead in the second half for King went away, but The Tornado answered down the stretch for the victory.

Back-to-back three pointers from Mark Dockery (Nickelsville, Va.) early in the second half gave King a 52-33 lead with 16 minutes left. He went onto finish with 15 points.

Jeremi Booth shot the Mountaineers back into the game as he drained three 3-pointers in a three-minute span. The last three in the run made the score 56-47 with 12:35 to go as King head coach George Pitts called a timeout. It was the first time the lead was single-digits since the opening five seconds of the half.

A two-minute scoring drought by King was stopped as Smith hit a pair of free throws with 11:19 left. The two points made the score 58-51. The two points before that were also free throws by Elisha Murray (Ft. Myers, Fla.). Overall, King with six minutes without a field goal as Appalachian State went on a 21-7 run during that stretch.

Donald Sims converted on a pair of free throws to give the home team their first lead, 60-59, since the early moments of the game.

From there King scored eight straight to regain control. Eventually the lead grew back to eight, 70-62 with six minutes left.

Appalachian State might have scored the first five points of the game, but King got the next five before the first media timeout 4:10 into the game. Sims came out of the break and gave the home team back-to-back three pointers.

Brian Hewitt (Lexington, Ky.) scored the next four Tornado points, however King trailed 13-9. (Powell, Tenn.) had a lay up and then knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the contest at 17 apiece with 11 minutes to go in the half.

Stephen Kite (Atlanta, Ga.) put King ahead 19-17 with a pair of free throws at the midpoint of the half. Kite then hit a three pointer in the next trip down the court. Dockery gave the Tornado their largest lead, 24-17, with his fast break layup with 9:14 showing on the clock.

A four-point Mountaineer spurt was answered with six straight by King to give the Tornado a 30-21 lead forcing an Appalachian State timeout with 4:09 left in the half. The lead ballooned to double-digits, 34-23 with 2:55 to go in the first when Murray put an offensive rebound in for two of his six points in the half.

The teams traded baskets down the stretch as King took a 39-31 lead to the locker room after the half.

Murray had 11 points and Hewitt added 15 along with 10 assists with a dozen from Kite.

Appalachian State was led by Josh Hunter's 22 points from the bench. Booth finished with 13 with a dozen by Kellen Brand.

Both teams made 29 field goals, but King went to the free throw line 29 times and made 23. Appalachian State was 11-for-18 at the line. King forced 18 turnovers and King scored 16 points off them.

King returns to the Student Center to play Carson-Newman (Tenn.) College at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Tornado grounded the Eagles of Carson-Newman 100-87 on Dec. 12. It capped a four game winning streak King had before Christmas.