PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The first and second half were like night and day but UPIKE extended its perfect record with a 70-46 win over Simmons College to close out the Walters Auto Classic on Saturday night.
After entering halftime with just a three-point lead, Pikeville dominated the second half to pull away late.
UPIKE stepped up particularly on defense in the second half, limiting the Falcons to just eight made field goals on 29 attempts (27.5 percent).
Conversely, the Bears shooting percentage went up 33 points in the second half, going from 34 percent to 57 percent.
A majority of that scoring outburst came from Jazz Parker who shined on offense and defense in the game. He scored a career-high 23 points on 7-10 shooting, plus going 3-5 from long distance. He also made all six of his free throws and grabbed six rebounds.
JJ Ramey also provided a big spark off the bench in the second half. With UPIKE’s lead at eight points with 12 minutes to go, Ramey came in and hit two 3-pointers to neutralize a pair of buckets from Simmons.
The freshman from South Laurel High School scored all 11 of his points after entering in that time and also made two assists.
The Bears closed the game on a 17-2 run to finally crush any doubts of a UPIKE win.
Simmons was able to hang around thanks to its intense defense that forced 18 total Pikeville turnovers. Coach Kelly Wells’ squad returned the favor almost exactly with 18 Simmons turnovers created on its own.
With the win, UPIKE has started its season with a perfect 9-0 record for the fourth season out of the last five.
The Bears will get a much-deserved week of rest before returning to action at 7:00 p.m. on Friday to face Wright State-Lake at the Appalachian Wireless Arena.