UPike held on.

The Bears picked up a 69-65 win over Talladega College Thursday morning in the opening round of the NAIA National Championship Tournament.

UPike’s Javontae Carleton knocked down a shot with 13:44 left to put the Bears up 51-38.

Talladega fought back after that, though. Talladega cut the lead to 53-51 with 8:36 left to play when Jarin Hilson knocked down a three. Talladega took a 54-53 lead with 7:31 left when Hilson knocked down another three.

UPike’s Da’Rell Domineck answered with a basket to put UPike back on top 55-54. Jayvian Delacruz added a basket with 6:36 left to push the lead to 57-54.

Talladega tied things up at 59-59 with a three from Dondre Alexander with 5:10 left in the game.

UPike answered again. Carleton scored with 4:55 left to give the Bears a 61-59 lead.

The Bears held a 62-61 lead with 3:27 left when Luke Layhew was fouled. Layhew knocked down both free throws to push the lead to 64-61.

Talladega’s Ramon Johnson stepped to the line with 2:27 left. He made one of his two free throws to cut the lead to 64-62. 

With 1:35 left, Talladega’s Da’Jon Streeter stepped to the line. Streeter made both free throws to tie things up at 64-64. 

UPike’s Chase Parsley was fouled with 1:25 left. He split to the free throws to give the Bears a 65-64 lead. 

UPike’s defense held and Parsley was fouled again with 26 seconds left. He made both free throws to push the lead to 67-64. 

Johnson answered with a pair of free throws for Talladega with three seconds left.

Parsley was fouled once again with three seconds left. He stepped to the line and knocked both free throws down to seal the Bears’ 69-65 win.

Parsley had a huge day for the Bears. Parsley led the Bears with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. He didn’t turn the ball over once in 37 minutes of play.

Carleton also scored 19 points for the Bears. Layhew added 15 points and eight rebounds. Delacruz scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds for the Bears. Xavier Gaona added five points and six rebounds. Domineck added two points and Stanley Perrin chipped in with one.

UPike will take on the winner of the Benedict vs. Westmont game tomorrow evening in the second round of the NAIA National Championship Tournament.

UPike was out rebounded 47-35. 

The Bears scored 17 points off of turnovers, while Talladega scored seven points off of turnovers.

Johnson led Talladega with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Hilson added 12 points. Streeter also reached double figures with 11 points.

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