UPIKE vs Bluefield
The win pushes the Bears to a perfect 15-0 record overall as they enter being just one week out of the start of conference play. Bluefield drops to 7-4 with the loss, which is its second this season to UPIKE.
Pikeville outshot the Rams 59-47 percent from the field, hit five more free throws, one extra 3-pointer and controlled the glass 35-26 to tally the win. Leslie had nine rebounds and Rodney Hawkins added seven to lead the effort.
David Tripp led the Rams with 18 points off the bench, followed by Jorge Concepcion III with 15 points, including a 2-for-2 showing from beyond the arc.
The opening six minutes were all UPIKE's as it charged out to an 18-6 lead when Leslie made a jumper at the 13:46 mark of the first half. An 8-0 run a few minutes later gave the Bears their largest lead of the half of 16 points, but a 9-0 Ram run immediately followed to cut the deficit to seven,
At halftime, UPIKE took a 44-33 lead into the break which it added to quickly with a 12-4 start to the second half to lead by 19 points.
Ten points is as close as the Rams would get on a few occasions the rest of the way before the Bears used a late 14-4 spurt to take their largest lead of 22 on a put back by Leslie with two minutes to play. Perry added a fast-break layup and free throw before Dylan James brought the scoring to an end with a jumper in the paint in the final 11 seconds.
UP NEXT: Mid-South Conference play begins at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 6 against Shawnee State (Ohio) in the East Ky. Expo Center.
Meanwhile, a furious comeback came up just short as the University of Pikeville women's basketball team couldn't get over the hump after falling behind early to Rio Grande on Saturday. The RedStorm held on to win 84-76 despite the Bears cutting the deficit to just two late in the game.
Aundrea Matchen paced the Bears (8-7) with 20 points and Rachel Lee chipped in with 19, but falling behind by 13 at 22-9 in the first quarter and then by as many as 16 early in the second did them in.
It was a first quarter to forget for UPIKE as it shot just 15 percent from the field and fell behind by as many as 16 points. On the other side, Rio Grande lit up the net at 65 percent, including Jasmine Smith ending the half going 6 for 6 from the field to tally 13 points at the break.
Smith finished with a team-best 21 points and Alexis Payne nearly matched her with 20. Smith also pulled down eight rebounds to help the RedStorm edge the Bears 39-38 on the glass.
The teams both hit five 3s and were nearly identical from the free-throw line, but Rio outshot UPIKE 52-46 percent from the field to make the difference.
UPIKE never led in the first half, but it was able to get some momentum going in the second quarter by scoring 26 points, compared to just 10 in the first. The Bears shot a whopping 71 percent in the frame and got seven points from both Jamie Castle and Adison Corder to get within eight at 40-32.
A 9-4 spurt by the RedStorm in the final two minutes of the half hurt though as they were able to extend the lead back to 13 at halftime.
Outscoring the RedStorm 8-3 over the final two minutes of the third quarter, the Bears were able to enter the final frame down just two at 63-61. When Matchen's runner made it 65-63, that was the last time UPIKE was within a basket as Rio answered with a 9-2 run, allowing it to hang on for the win comfortably the rest of the way.
UP NEXT: UPIKE opens Mid-South Conference play against No. 4 Shawnee State (Ohio) at 2 p.m. ET on Jan. 6.
- Submitted for publication by UPIKE Sports Information Director Dan Price White,