PIKEVILLE, Ky. – In his eighth season at the helm, Kelly Wells became the all-time men’s basketball wins leader at the University of Pikeville, passing Paul Butcher who spent 11 seasons at the school from 1959-67 and again from 1970-73.
Wells and his current group of Bears, ranked third in the NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 Poll, return to action on Dec. 31 against Tennessee Temple. It will be the team’s lone game played at the on-campus UPIKE Gym due to scheduling conflicts at the East Ky. Expo Center around New Year’s.
With a 113-65 win over Cincinnati-Clermont the last time out, Wells reached 158 wins at UPIKE. This is his 18th season overall as a head coach, spending a year at Hawaii Pacific following successful high-school stints at Mason and Marion County High Schools in Kentucky.
Roy Cutright has 217 basketball wins at the school, but only 71 were added as the head men’s basketball coach, spending nine of his 14 seasons with the UPIKE women. Bill Watson is the all-time wins leader in the two sports combined with 242 over 16 years with the women.
Wells’ current group has all the ingredients to be one of his best. Standing at 10-1 overall and 2-0 in the Mid-South Conference, the only loss came on the road at Life (Ga.) 91-84 on Nov. 12.
The trio of Bruce Reed (16.7 ppg), Keala King (15.9) and Chris Cantino (14.7) have made the team’s offense go, while Cantino is also adding an NAIA-best 5.8 offensive rebounds per game and 10.2 total board.
Pikeville leads the nation in scoring margin, winning by more than 31 points per game and is fourth nationally in scoring offense at 98.1 points per game.
The good news hasn’t stopped on the court either as the men’s basketball program posted a 2.95 team GPA in the fall, including nine individuals over a 3.0.