Belmont Abbey junior guard Morgan Midkiff led all scorers with 26 points but her game-tying attempt at the buzzer missed as the King held off a late Crusaders charge for a 65-63 win this afternoon inside the King University Student Center. King increases its winning streak to eight, improving to 12-4 overall and 7-3 in Conference Carolinas, while the Abbey slips to 8-8 overall and 4-6 in Conference Carolinas.
The Crusaders will look to snap their six game losing streak Monday night at Converse.
Belmont Abbey trailed 38-28 at the half as Midkiff scored 12 of her points in the period. The second half was a different story, as the Crusaders outscored the Tornado 35-27 as they roared back from a 51-35 deficit with 13:23 left to make it a one possession game.
The Crusaders fought back with a 19-4 run over the next six minutes to trim their deficit down to one at 55-54 with 7:22 to play.
The two teams traded baskets for the next several possessions before the Tornado netted four unanswered to stretch the lead to 61-56 with 3:43 showing.
Belmont Abbey fired right back by scoring the next six straight of its own, using two layups from McKenzie Owen and capped off by one from Gabrielle Bethel, which sliced the King lead to 63-62 with 1:22 to play.
33 seconds later, after an Abbey foul, King's Chelsea Bowling converted two free throws to move the Tornado lead to 65-62.
A King foul on the next Abbey trip sent Owen to the line for two shots. With 39 seconds left, she missed the first but made the second to cut the lead to 65-63.
Belmont Abbey needed to make a defensive stop on the ensuing Tornado possession and it did just that, as a King three pointer with 17 seconds left was rebounded by Grier.
The Crusaders did not call a timeout as they raced down the court and worked the clock, but Midkiff's shot at the buzzer fell off the rim as King held on to claim its eighth-straight victory.
Belmont Abbey shot 38 percent from the field but converted 50 percent of its shots in the second half.
Midkiff finished with 26 points on 11-27 shooting with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Owen netted 15 with six rebounds. Bethel grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with six points.
Neither team shot well from three-point range, as the Crusaders converted 5-19, while King made 4-14.
At the free throw line, King attempted 20 shots, making 13, while the Abbey was just 6-9.