PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Top-ranked University of Pikeville used a 20-3 run in the middle of the second half to beat No. 2 Mountain State University 98-93 Wednesday night in front of 2,521 at the East Kentucky Expo Center.
Pikeville (6-0) went on the run after the Cougars ran off a 26-3 outburst early in the frame.
Mountain State fell to 4-3 with its third consecutive loss.
The game ended without either head coach after an incident that occurred with 6:20 to play. With UPike leading 72-69, senior Jamar Board – a transfer from Mountain State – was called for a foul. A brief skirmish broke out when the fouled player, Cougar junior Devon Peterson, threw the ball at Board.
After the incident, Peterson was ejected and each team had a player assessed a technical foul. As the officials explained their calls to the head coaches, words were exchanged which led to another small mixup. After the officials sorted out the situation, both coaches were ejected.
When action resumed, Mountain State made one of three free throws while the Bears nailed theirs, stretching the lead to 74-70.
That came in the middle of Pikeville’s 20-3 run. Board sank two free throws nine seconds later and then scored on a layup with 5:40 to play to make it an eight-point lead (78-70).
The Cougars responded, getting five quick points from senior Mark Williams, and – after a three from the corner by UPike point guard Chris McHenry – a pair of free throws and a layup from sophomore Mantas Drungys to pull within one, 83-82, with 2:13 to play.
But Pikeville scored the next seven points on a short jumper by senior Andrew Young and five straight by Board to stretch the lead to 90-82 with 59.8 seconds left.
The Cougars got as close as three with 2.2 seconds left on a three-point shot by senior Kevin Timmons, but two more Board tosses with 0.2 seconds left iced the game.
After senior Shane Burrell missed the first of two from the line with 10:19 to play, the Bears made their last 17 free throws, 15 of which came after the incident with 6:20 left.
The first half saw both teams control the offense. Mountain State scored seven straight, ending with a bucket by Peterson, to take a 10-5 lead with 16:51 remaining.
The lead was 17-12 following a dunk by sophomore David Nyarsuk at the 13:33 mark before the Bears ripped off 13 of the next 16, getting four from Young and five from Setty, whose basket in the lane with 10:52 left put his team in front 23-20.
After the Cougars regained the lead on a Peterson three (26-25) the Bears scored eight in a row, ending with a three-point play by McHenry to take a 33-26 lead with 6:26 left.
Pikeville’s edge grew to 11 twice late in the half, and a putback by Drungys with 33 seconds left sent the teams to the half with the score 48-39.
UPike posted what would be its biggest lead of the night when Board hit a three from the right wing with 18:25 to play to make it 55-41. But that sparked MSU’s 26-3 run that lasted 6:28, including the final 10 unanswered. When Williams sank a three with 11:25 left, he had seven during the expand that gave the Cougars a 67-58 lead.
Pikeville immediately began its 20-3 run, with Setty nailing a 24-foot three-pointer to get it going. Board scored the next six to even the game (67-67) with 8:57 left, setting the stage for the thrilling sprint to the finish.
Setty, who was the national-tournament MVP on the strength of his 32-point, 17-rebound performance in the 83-76 overtime win over Mountain State in the finals, fired in a game-high 30, pulled down eight rebounds and swatted four blocked shots. Board followed with 29, hitting all 15 free throws.
McHenry had 13 points and nine assists while Young tossed in 10.
Mountain State got a double-double from Williams, who drove home six threes in eight shots for 22 points and 10 assists. Junior Isaiah Hill also had a double-double, scoring 15 and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Senior Cam Miller also had 14 markers, while Nyarsuk finished with 11.
UPike – which hosts No. 8 Georgetown College on Saturday in the Mid-South Conference opener – won the rebounding battle 49-43. The teams combined for 30 turnovers, 16 of which were against the Bears. Mountain State hit 42.9 percent overall and 41.9 percent from the arc, while the Bears shot 42.7 percent and 33.3 percent from deep.
The teams shot excellently from the line, with the Cougars sinking 82.4 percent and the Bears 82.8.
The rematch is slated for Tuesday, Dec. 6 in Beckley, W.Va., in a game set for a 7 p.m. opening tip.