King’s Unable to Finish Off Old Foe: 66-56
Trailing the visiting Wilkes University men’s basketball team 35-27 with 19 minutes remaining in the game, a booming chorus of cheers broke out among the King’s faithful that seemed to ignite the Monarchs both offensively and defensively.
After sophomore Kyle Hammonds drained a jumper for two points, senior Nick Reisig and first-year player Keyton Winder each recorded a steal. Two Stackhouse jump-shots later, Reisig connected on a deep three-pointer to tie the game 35-35. Hammonds then netted another two points at the hoop to give King’s their first lead of the game with just over 12 minutes left to play. The magic would not last long however, as Wilkes went on a 31-19 run to earn a 66-56 victory.
“To see the student section the way it was in the second half was great,” Hammonds said. “Their involvement really seemed to help with our momentum at times and I’m just bitter we couldn’t give the fans a win. It would be great if they could bring those types of numbers and support to every home game.”
With the loss, the Monarchs dropped to 8-8 on the season with a 3-2 mark in conference action and failed to claim first place in the Freedom conference while the win elevated Wilkes to 12-3 overall with continued perfection in conference play (5-0).
Wilkes came out red-hot and kicked off the scoring right away as senior Kendall Hinze scored down low before senior Matt Mullins sunk two rainmakers to give Wilkes an early 8-0 lead. Two more three-pointers from junior Tyler Breznitsky and Mullins pushed the Wilkes lead to 19-7.
The Monarchs answered back quickly, reeling off the next nine points on field goals by Hammonds and Winder. Junior Matt Fiorino also buried a three-pointer to bring the Monarchs to within two with 7:38 left in the half.
After some strong defensive play by both teams, Winder scored on a lay-up to trim Wilkes’ lead to 32-25 entering halftime.
King’s came out strong following the halftime break with a 12-3 run that gave them their first lead of the game. The run was highlighted by Reisig’s deep three-pointer from outside of the arc that had the home side of the court erupting.
Unfortunately for King’s, their troubles in defending the deep ball continued as Mullins drained five more three-point shots to help Wilkes pull away during their large run on their way to the 66-56 win.
“Wilkes has a very strong post presence and their two big men have done a lot of damage in the season thus far, so we planned to keep them out of the paint,” Hammonds said. “Switching up our defense did exactly what we wanted it to do: if they were going to beat us, they were going have to outshoot us. Unfortunately, Mullins had a career night and we just didn’t contest his shots well enough.”
The Monarchs were led offensively by Hammonds, who finished the game with 12 points and four rebounds. Winder followed up with a 3-for-12 shooting performance from the field, but was 6-for-6 at the line for a total of 12 points. He also recorded five rebounds. Reisig and first-year player Mike Foster each contributed with seven points.
For Wilkes, Mullins had nine three-pointers and ended the game with a career-high 30 points while Breznitsky added 11 points with three treys.