Crusaders Upset Top-Seeded King

Crusaders Upset Top-Seeded King

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- DeQuan Abrom scored 28 points and was a perfect eight-of-eight at the free throw line, lifting No. 8 seed Belmont Abbey to an 82-74 upset of top-seeded King in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 Conference Carolinas Men's Basketball Championship.

With the victory, the Crusaders (11-18) advance to Saturday's semifinals in Banner Elk, N.C., where they will face No. 5 Limestone. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 4 p.m.

Jacob Wilson added 14 points, six rebounds and four assists while ThankGod Avar was the top rebounder with eight, while also contributing seven points. Jordan Floyd led four King players in double figures with 25 points.

After Belmont Abbey opened the game with the first basket, King tallied 13 of the next 19 points to open its biggest lead, 13-8 at the 14:40 mark. Abrom and Ben Ferguson hit three-pointers abound a Tornado jumper to cut the lead to one, but two free throws made the score 17-14. Another Abrom three, followed by one by Markel Pollard put The Abbey back in front, 20-17, with 11:26 left in the half.

King (19-10) used a three-pointer just over two minutes later to retake the lead for the final time at 24-23 before Wilson started an 8-0 with a layup and three. Myron Carmon capped the run with another three to make the score, 31-24. Floyd quickly answered with six straight points before each team tallied two more points for a 33-32 BAC lead.

That's where The Abbey took control. Ferguson book-ended a 15-6 run over the final 3:55 with a pair of threes, pushing the Crusaders to their first double-digit lead of the contest, 48-38 at the break.

The surge continued in the second with a 6-1 start that pushed the margin to 15, 54-39, but King tried to rally. A 7-0 run near the midway point cut at 14-point lead in half, then the Tornado closed to two twice, the latter at 71-69 with 4:33 left.

Six straight points -- free throws by Carmon and Avar around an Abrom fastbreak layup -- pushed the advantage back to eight, 77-69 with 1:44 left, but King answered with back-to-back baskets, including a three to trail 77-74 with 59 seconds left.

But the upset bid would not be denied as Belmont Abbey did not allow another point, closing the game on a 5-0 run of its own to snap a seven-game losing streak. Abrom had layup at the 34-second mark, then hit a pair of free throws with 23 ticks left to push the lead back to seven. Wilson added the final nail by hitting one of two at the charity stripe with nine seconds to play.

The result was the first No. 8 over 1 upset in the Conference Carolinas Men's Basketball Tournament since 2011 when the Crusaders knocked off Queens 84-81.