KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pikeville College's rallying cry in the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament has been "All In."
The unseeded Bears, uncertain they would even be included in the tournament, find themselves in all right. In the championship game.
Pikeville stormed back from a 15-point deficit in the second half and defeated fifth-seeded Martin Methodist 110-99 Monday night in the opening semifinal in Municipal Auditorium.
Pikeville (29-7) advanced to the championship game, the first in school history, and will meet third-seeded Mountain State (W.Va.) University, a 69-63 winner over Georgetown College in the second semifinal.
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Martin Methodist (34-3), located in Pulaski, Tenn., had won the most games in the NAIA this season.
The game was played at a run-it-up, shoot-it-up pace from start to finish, with neither team needing a shot clock.
Martin Methodist led 89-77 with 8:28 to play when the Bears scored 18 consecutive points to take a 95-89 lead. After a three-pointer by Martin Methodist interrupted the run, Pikeville ran off nine more points to complete a 27-3 surge that iced the game.
Quincy Hankins-Cole, a former Nebraska Cornhusker, sparked the rally with 13 of his team-high 28 points (he also had 16 rebounds, eight on the offensive end). Hankins-Cole's three-point play tied the game 87-87 with 6:48 to play.
Then he was fouled on an inside move, and the ball circled the rim before plopping in.
"Watching that ball roll around and seeing it go in, that was a big momentum swing for us," Hankins-Cole said.
Hankins-Cole, a 6-foot-8 senior, added the free throw for a 90-87 lead with 5:34 to play, and the Bears were on their way as he followed that with a three-pointer.
The Red Hawks hit seven of 16 three-pointers in the first half, including guard James Justice's trey at the halftime buzzer for a 51-43 lead. Shots they missed, the Red Hawks put back with some ferocious slams.
"Coming out in the second half, we said, 'We're still in the game, we're still in the game,' '' Hankins-Cole said. "But I haven't seen very many teams go 40 minutes straight with hot shooting."
Hankins-Cole had averaged just 7.0 points through the first three games of the tournament before going 9-for-15 from the field — including hitting both of his three-point shots — and 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
"Quincy amazes me," said teammate Trevor Setty. "Tonight, he just took over. He got board after board, he hit the biggest shots I'd ever seen him hit. He wasn't just hitting layups."
Setty, a 6-9 sophomore and a former teammate of Kentucky's Darius Miller at state champion Mason County, had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and senior guard Vance Cooksey added 17 points and 11 assists.
Pikeville, which has scored 100 points in nine games this season and is 28-1 in games in which it scores 80-plus points, got double-digit scoring from six players.
"Our bench play was the difference in the game," said Coach Kelly Wells,.
Martin Methodist was led by guard Ree McCrory with 27 points and forward Chris Legget with 20.
Pikeville has beaten the two finalists from last season, Oklahoma Baptist and Azusa Pacific, as well as top-seeded Robert Morris.
Mountain State 69, Georgetown 63: For the fourth time in four meetings since 2003 in the NAIA national semifinals, Mountain State (W.Va.) ended the championship dream for Georgetown.
Mountain State (33-3) overcame a nine-point halftime deficit. The Cougars still trailed entering the final four minutes before 7-1 freshman center David Nyarsuk's putback gave them a one-point lead with 3:57 to play, their first lead since they were up 6-5 five minutes into the game.
Junior guard Doug Wiggins connected on five of six free throws in the final 48 seconds to keep the Tigers at bay.
Georgetown senior guard Rodney Haddix was a one-man wrecking crew in the first half with 20 of his team's 39 points. The Tigers limited the Cougars to 29 percent from the field and dominated the boards 29-19.
Mountain State won the battle of the boards in the second half and cranked up its defense.
Georgetown (32-5) went 9-for-35 in the second half. Haddix finished with a game-best 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Junior Tyrone Shelley scored 13, and junior Vic Moses yanked down 12 rebounds.
Mountain State had five players in double figures.