Friday, November 20, 2015

No. 2 UPIKE is Off to Best Start of Kelly Wells' Era

(2) Pikeville 104
Life 96

Final from Marietta, Georgia

Game recap by UPIKE:

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Rarely does 53 points in the first half mean a slow start, but No. 2 UPIKE had to contend with a Life team that scored 65 before rallying back for a 104-96 win in the Mid-South Conference opener on Thursday night.

Winning is never easy on the road in conference play and making it even sweeter is the fact that the 8-0 start is the best in head coach Kelly Wells' 10 seasons with the Bears.

Led by 26 points from K.K. Simmons, UPIKE (8-0, 1-0 MSC) snaps a nine-game home winning streak for the Running Eagles which included four wins over MSC teams, Pikeville included, dating back to last season.

Macari Brooks and Colt Chapman both added double-doubles, Brooks with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Chapman with 16 and 10. Trey Rakes joined them in double figures with 14 points and Christian Leach added 10 off the bench.

Life got a game-high 36 points from Dalarian Williams, while Jonathan Beausejour pitched in with 19.

In the high-scoring affair, the Bears shot 52.6 percent and Life came in at 48.5 percent. UPIKE also led the game on the glass 42-37 and had five less turnovers at 20-15.

After shooting 65 percent in the first half, Life was held to 29 percent the rest of the way as the Bears picked up their defensive intensity, led by Michael Lewis who finished with three blocks.

UPIKE jumped out to a 6-3 lead on a short jumper by Lewis, but the rest of the half, outside two small UPIKE runs, belonged to Life.

It led by 15 points at 38-23 before nine minutes had been played and didn't truly let UPIKE back in the game until the two-minute mark when a Rakes free throw made it 58-53.

But a turnover and two misses by Simmons followed, allowing Life to use a quick 7-0 run to lead by 12 at the break.

For all the success the Running Eagles (3-2, 0-1 MSC) had in the first half, the start of the second was a disaster. They missed five of their first six shots and turned the ball over five times in the first five minutes as the Bears used a 7-0 run to get back within five.

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