WISE, Va. – The University of Pikeville survived its first trip to the phenomenal U.Va.-Wise Convocation Center Saturday afternoon, holding on for a 74-72 win.
Pikeville (12-7, 4-4 in the Mid-South Conference) broke open a 59-59 tie with five minutes to play with a 9-2 stretch. It opened with a three-point play by senior Chris McHenry and ended with one by senior Kyan Hines, the latter coming with 1:53 to play to give the Bears a seemingly-comfortable 68-61 edge.
But the Bears would go frigid from the free throw line in the final minute. After getting two from McHenry and the first of a pair by sophomore Josh Whitaker with 53.9 seconds left to make it 72-65.
But beginning with Whitaker’s second toss, the Bears would miss six straight and 11-of-12 from the free throw line before a toss by senior Cordaro Ellis with 2.8 seconds left.
A half-court heave at the buzzer fell off to give the Bears the win.
In the end, the Bears were 20-of-40 from the free throw line.
Wise got off to a quick start, scoring 11 straight points to take a 13-3 lead with 16:18 to play. The Cavs maintained the lead the rest of the half, despite a 9-0 run by the Bears that included five from junior Trevor Setty to make it 28-25 with 3:31.
At the half, the Cavs led 32-30.
McHenry led the Bears with 23 points, with senior Andrew Young coming off the bench for 20 points and nine rebounds. Setty followed with 11 points and nine rebounds.
Young and Setty, along with the efforts of Ellis with 11 caroms, won the rebounding battle 49-37 and pulled down 20 rebounds off their own misses.
Josh Jordan had a double-double to lead the Cavaliers, scoring 24 and pulling down 13 rebounds. Darius Smith followed with 17 points along with six rebounds and six assists. Travis Berry tossed in 13 and Norris Gaskins had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Pikeville won on a night it shot only 41.0 percent, holding U.Va.-Wise to 36.7 percent from the floor.
U.Va.-Wise (5-9, 3-5) will be home on Thursday night, playing Lindsey Wilson in a game set for an 8 p.m. tipoff. Cumberlands visits Pikeville in a game that will tip at 8:07 p.m.