PIKEVILLE, Ky. -- For a while on Tuesday night, it appeared that UPIKE men’s basketball’s unblemished record was in jeopardy, but the Bears were able to survive with a 81-67 win over UVA-Wise.
UPIKE was able to dominate the first 10 minutes and built a 26-5 lead against the Cavaliers in the early going. Xaviar Gaona scored seven of his 12 points in that time to help build that early lead. Gaona also finished with a team-high eight rebounds in the contest.
Despite UPIKE carrying a 20-point advantage as far as 18 minutes into the game, all it took was 56 seconds for the Cavs to slash that lead to 14 just before halftime. The Bears would take a 17-point lead into the break.
However, UVA-Wise would really turn up the heat in the second half. The Cavaliers shot 43 percent in the second half, while holding the bears to 34 percent. This allowed Wise to slowly, continually slash into the Bears’ lead.
Parris Briggs came out of the gate with two three-pointers in just 11 seconds and gut check the Bears. The offensive onslaught continued as UVA-Wise seemed to hit big bucket after big bucket and the Cavaliers found themselves only down by one with eight minutes to go.
But the Bears struck back with a clutch three from Jayvian Delacruz followed by a layup from Chase Parsley to push UPIKE back up by six put the game inevitably out of reach.
Delacruz, the back-to-back Mid-South Conference Player of the Week, had an off day for his standards, with 13 points on 4-10 shooting, most of which came late once the game had been decided. Parsley, however, had a career high 19 points, going 8-12 from the floor.
After that short burst, the Cavaliers didn’t have much of a spark left on offense and realized its comeback bid had come just short.