BRISTOL, Tenn. - Belmont Abbey scored 26 points in the fourth quarter to earn a 76-65 comeback win at King University (Tenn.) this afternoon. With the victory, the Crusaders improve to 7-3 on the season, and 4-0 in Conference Carolinas play. The team has now won six games in a row. The Tornado are now 4-5 overall, and 2-2 in conference play.
King led throughout the first, and had a 23-12 lead at the end of the quarter. Emry Tsitouris scored six The Abbey's 12 points in the period. In the second, Tsitouris continued her scoring zeal, tallying four of the first six Crusader points in the quarter. Then Briana Grier scored five points in a span of 1:35 to pull The Abbey to within 12 at 35-23. From there, senior Taylor Gittings scored five in a row, capping a 9-2 Abbey run to make it a 37-32 game with 1:08 left in the half. Gittings nailed a jumper with seven seconds left in the period to pull Belmont Abbey to within six at 40-34 by halftime.
Freshman Allie Downing opened the third by sinking a pair of free throws. Meanwhile, the defensive effort forced the Tornado into a four-minute span of only scoring two points. During that span, Tsitouris scored five straight Abbey points to bring the Crusaders within three, 44-41, with 6:13 in the third. Alex Busch finished off the quarter by nailing a jumper to make it a 57-50 King lead heading into the final quarter.
Belmont Abbey went on a 7-0 run in the opening 1:46 of the fourth to tie the game at 57. Freshman Maria Kuhlman sunk a pair of free throws to give Belmont Abbey its first lead of the game with 5:54 to play. Then Downing scored four points in a row, followed by a Kuhlman three-pointer to give the Crusaders a solid 68-60 lead. At this point, The Abbey outscored King 18-3 in the quarter. The defense forced the Tornado into a scoring drought of 5:30, which went into the final two minutes of the contest. Belmont Abbey finished the game with a 76-65 victory, including a 26-8 performance in the final quarter.
On the day, Tsitouris recorded 19 points and 13 rebounds, her third double-double of the season. Kuhlman added 14 points with four boards. Grier handed out a game-high five assists.
Up next for Belmont Abbey will be a visit to the University of Charleston (W. Va) on Tuesday, December 19. That game will tip off at 2 p.m.