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Briscoe’s 31 leads Bears to semifinals

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Mid-South Conference Player of the Year Jamar Briscoe scored a game-high 31 points to help No. 2 Pikeville outduel seventh-seeded St. Catharine 87-82 tonight in the Mid-South Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Frankfort Convention Center.

Pikeville advances to Saturday’s semifinals against the winner of Friday’s final quarterfinal game featuring third-seeded Georgetown and sixth-seeded Cumberlands.

It was a tale of two halves for Pikeville’s shooters.

In the opening 20 minutes, the Bears (25-5) shot just 27.1 percent (13-of-48) from the field and trailed at the break 35-27. In the second frame, Pikeville found its stroke to the tune of 54.3 percent (19-of-35) and 60 second-half points.

Briscoe led the charge with 27 points after intermission, including seven points over a two-minute span. He helped turned a five-point Pikeville deficit into a 60-59 lead -- the Bears first lead of the second half -- at the midway point of the half.

Briscoe was one of five Bears to record double digits in the game.

Greg Magee came off the Pikeville bench with 17 points, Trevor Setty added 15 points -- and 11 rebounds -- and Terrance Saintil and Chris Johnson chipped in 10 each.

The Bears methodically built their lead to as many as eight (77-69) with three minutes left.

St. Catharine closed within two points on two different occasions but would get no closer.

While the Bears struggled to find the bottom of the net at times, they dominated other aspects of the game that eventually proved to be the difference.

Pikeville forced St. Catharine (13-14) into 24 turnovers and out-rebounded the Patriots 48-39.

While St. Catharine held a distinct shooting advantage -- 55.4 to 38.6 percent for the game -- the Bears managed to throw up 27 more shots in the game thanks to a game-changing 27 offensive rebounds.

St. Catharine’s Omar Skinner ended the game with 30 points -- including making 5-for-7 from beyond the three-point arc. William Tolefree scored 17 while Dominique Roy added 13 off the bench.

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