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DJ Townsend hit a three-pointer from the corner with 1:42 remaining in the first half Sunday. This gave No. 16 Georgetown College men's basketball a one-point lead over No. 2 University of Pikeville. However, Elisha Justice hit a fade away three capping an 8-0 run in the final 1:30. The Bears never trailed again in the 2014 Mid-South Conference Championships presented by GoJohnnyGo 5K/10K Walk/Run, winning 96-71 in Lebanon, Tenn.
The Tigers (22-10) stayed close until that point with a UPike (30-2) team that has not lost in almost two months. Pikeville suffered its second loss of the season Jan. 16 at Georgetown College. Since the Bears have tallied 16 straight wins.
In the first 20 minutes, there were three ties and two lead changes. Russ Middleton's old fashion three tied the game for the final time at 33 all with 2:48 to go. Bruce Reed put the Bears back in front by two 35-33, setting the stage for Townsend's shot.
Justice also started the run with a three to answer Townsend's shot. Georgetown turned it over on the ensuing possession. UPike showed its dominance on the boards the following trip – picking up two offensive rebounds that allowed John Nunnally to hit a shot for a 40-36 lead. With less than 35 seconds to play it appeared GC could either trim the deficit or go into the locker room trailing by just four. Unfortunately, the Tigers turned it over again and with three seconds showing Justice hit the dagger shot. Georgetown never got any closer than seven again.
Noah Cottrill led the charge for GC with 17 points. Monty Wilson had 16 and Deondre McWhorter 15. UPike won the battle on the boards 44-27, including 17 on the offensive end. McWhorter led the Tigers with eight rebounds, while Chris Cantino was the force for the Bears with 16.
Five Pikeville players reached double figures – Josh Whitaker led with a game-high 21. Reed chipped in with 19. Keala King had 16 and Cantino and Kenny Manigault had 13 each. Justice finished with nine and his only two threes of the game came in that final two-minute span of the first half.
Georgetown does advance to a 23rd straight NAIA National Tournament in hopes of defending its 2013 national title. The Tigers lost to this same Bears group in the MSC tournament semifinals a season ago before going on the run in Kansas City. The selection show will be sometime this week as the Tigers will learn their seed, first round opponent and overall bracket. There will be more information to follow on the Georgetown College athletics website as details about the selection show are known.