BRISTOL, TN- The VSU Trojans men's basketball team survived a close game against the King University Tornados, with a final score of 72-71. The December 30 win moves the Trojans to a 9-3 overall record.
Taking control of the game for VSU was senior Richard Granberry with 18 points. Securing the game winning basket and rounding out the double-digit scoring was senior Elijah Moore with 14 points. Senior Amiel Terry dominated VSU's recoveries with 7 rebounds.
Granberry was equally matched with the King's leading scorer, Hunter LeVeau, who also grasped 18 points. The Tornados Derick Pope was match with Terry, also tallying 7 rebounds.
Opening the contest with a steady flow, both teams kept the scoring gap low as miss shots and turnovers dominated the court. The Tornados jumped ahead of the Trojans, using their home court advantage. A 3-point shot by senior Kevin Williams, with 8:08 left until halftime, moved VSU within 2 points of a tied game. Moving full force ahead, King widened the scoring game into double-digit range. Senior Trey Brown gave VSU a last second tip-in, bringing the score to 36-27, VSU trailing.
Outscoring the Tornados in the second half, 45-35, the game ruled in favor of the Trojans. VSU took advantage of the King's rocky start to the half by driving to the basket to tie the game 39-39 at 16:10. Not allowing the scoring gap to expand, the game tied 5 times in the half. A tip-in by Terry followed by a dunk by sophomore Cyonte Melvin, started the Trojans on a brief scoring run. After a free throw shot by Brown, bringing the score to 68-64 at 4:23, the Trojans would remain scoreless for over four minutes.
With 0:34 left in the game, the crowd screamed for the home team as they took the 71-68 lead over the Trojans. A 30 second timeout gave VSU the chance to set up their game winning play. Elijah Moore was in place to secure a 3 point shot and get fouled, sending him to the line for 1. With the score tied 71-71 and 0:14 left on the clock, Moore grasped the much needed bucket to take the lead. As both team hustled down the court, the Kings were fouled with 0:05 left in regulation. The Tornados leading rebounder missed both shots, giving VSU a close 72-71 victory.
The Trojans had an edge on the Tornados with points in the paint (34-28) and fast break points (8-7).
VSU ended the night shooting 48.3 percent (28-58) from the field, 25 percent (5-20) from behind the arc, and 84.6 percent (11-13) at the line, while KU ended the night shooting 41 percent (25-61) from the field, 31.3 percent (10-32) from behind the arc, and 73.3 percent (11-15) at the line.
The Trojans will take on the Rams Winston-Salem State University on January 5 for the Trojans first game of 2017. Tip-off is set for 7:30pm in Winston-Salem, NC.
VSU will continue to work hard to prepare for the 2017 CIAA Basketball Tournament on February 20-25 in Charlotte. NC.
For more information on VSU Trojans men's basketball, follow Trojans Athletics on Twitter @VSUsports, or call 804-524-5030.