Known for its high-scoring offense, Mountain State University lived up to its reputation against Pikeville College Saturday.

The unbeaten Cougars’ defense, however, was even better.

The NAIA’s fourth-ranked team held the Kentucky school to a paltry 21.9 shooting percentage from the floor in an 85-47 win at the Raleigh County Armory.

While MSU (5-0) put four players in double figures in scoring, the Bears had just two. Standout guard Donnell Dobbins made just 2-of-20 shots and finished with 10 points.

“We were solid the whole game,” Cougars coach Bob Bolen said. “To hold Dobbins 2-for-20 when he’s averaging 16 or 17 points, that’s a credit to our team defense.”

Pikeville (0-4) looked to make a game of it early when it overcame an early 8-0 deficit to tie the count at 10-all.

MSU had opened with three-point shots by Jarvis Jackson and Ralph Legg and a tip-in by Yusuf Baker. The Bears answered with three goals by Donald Thomas.

But the Cougars erupted again, putting a lid on Pikeville’s basket while reeling off 12 straight points themselves.

“We played great defense and got into our transition game,” Bolen said. “That was the key.”

While Thomas cooled off and Dobbins never really got started, Cougars junior wing Adron Marshall caught fire.

Always good for an assist or rebound, Marshall showed he could shoot as well, hitting 9-of-15 shots and scoring a career-best 21 points.

“I don’t come out and score big every day, but as long as I help my team, that’s all that matters,” he said. “Tonight my teammates wanted me to step up.”

Racing downcourt on the fast break, Marshall sank two smooth jumpers and added a free throw to power the 12-0 run. He was also a factor on the boards, finishing the game with 13 rebounds.

“Adron’s a winner. He does what it takes and he enjoys playing,” Bolen said. “It doesn’t matter if he takes 15 shots or two. I enjoy watching him play.”

MSU led 37-27 at halftime, then used an early 10-0 run to put the game out of reach.

Pikeville made just 6-of-38 shots from the floor, or 15.8 percent, in the second half.

“Mountain State is a tremendous shooting team,” first-year Bears coach Kelly Wells said. “We knew we’d have to come in and shoot well, but you’re not going to beat anybody shooting 15 percent.”

Thomas finished with 21 points for Pikeville, which made just five assists and was outrebounded 57-41.

“We have one kid going in for knee surgery tomorrow, and we kept another at home today for missing class,” Wells said. “We had some things going on, but I’m super proud of our guys.”

Legg had 19 points and six assists for the Cougars. Baker scored 11 and contributed 10 rebounds and Jackson chipped in 10 points and seven assists.

The win gives the Cougars momentum going into their big game with Voorhees Tuesday night at the Armory.

“Last year we beat them by one, 104-103, in the regional championship,” Bolen said. “They were 26-3 last year and we were 29-3 — two of the top teams in the East.

“Vorhees has its whole team back and there’s a lot of talk down there that they’re better than us.

“We’re going to find out Tuesday.”

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Mountain State University 85, Pikeville College 47


Robert Walker 0-5 0-2 0, Donald Thomas 7-19 5-6 21, Donnell Dobbins 2-20 5-8 10, Brad Lowe 1-8 0-0 3, Troy Williams 1-3 1-1 3, Wil Holloman 0-1 0-0 0, Jarrod Adkins 0-0 2-5 2, Robbie Spears 0-2 0-0 0, Brandon May 0-3 2-2 2, Steve Sickler 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Kidd 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Valentine 3-3 0-0 6. Totals: 14-64 15-24 47.


Ralph Legg 5-10 5-6 19, Jarvis Jackson 4-10 0-2 10, Adron Marshall 9-15 2-2 21, Petroslav Zafirov 0-4 0-0 0, Yusuf Baker 5-7 0-3 11, Emmanuel Coulibaly 2-5 0-0 6, Tony Fox 1-1 0-0 3, Tyrice Watkins 2-3 1-2 6, Aaron Owens 1-2 0-0 3, Renardo Dixon 1-8 0-0 3, Devin Hawes 0-2 0-0 0, Pap Gassama 0-1 0-0 0, Ermin Tarzin 1-2 1-2 3. Totals: 31-70 9-17 85.

Halftime: MSU 37, PC 27. Three-point goals: PC 4-21 (Thomas 2-7, Dobbins 1-6, Lowe 1-6, May 0-2), MSU 14-36 (Legg 4-8, Jackson 2-6, Marshall 1-4, Zafirov 0-1, Baker 1-1, Coulibaly 2-3, Fox 1-1, Watkins 1-2, Owens 1-2, Dixon 1-6, Hawes 0-1, Tarzin 0-1). Rebounds: PC 41 (Walker 9, Valentine 6), MSU 57 (Marshall 13, Baker 10, Legg 8). Assists: PC 5 (Dobbins 3), MSU 22 (Jackson 7, Legg 6, Watkins 4). Turnovers: PC 13, MSU 10. Fouls: PC 20, MSU 18. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.

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