Marion, AL. - Sophomore Carlos Bell led MMI with 33 points in their win Thursday evening at home against ACCC North foe Wallace State Community College. This win improved the Tigers to 15-5 overall, 8-2 in the ACCC North.
Marion and Wallace State battled throughout the first half with the home squad building a double digit late in the first period. Wallace State scored on back-to-back plays and cut the lead to eight (40-32) right before the break.
The first play of the second half saw the Lions commit a turnover. Bell drove the lane on MMI's first possession and was fouled, completing the old-fashioned three-point play. Tigers once again had a double digit lead. With a defensive stop on the next possession, the Marion guards were able to find Mikel Davis underneath the basket for two points, extending the lead to 45-32. Wallace connected on back-to-back three point baskets with under 15 minutes to play and once again kept the game close (48-40).
Antony Edwards ended the short offensive drought for MMI at the 14:00 mark with three points; a layup and a free throw. Score was back to eleven, 51-40. With both teams trading baskets, Wallace put together another small run to cut the lead to just six points with 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
Nathan Boyd's two free throws brought it back to double digits (60-50) at the 8:32 mark but the Lions wouldn't go away, scoring two points on their next possession. After Marion committed back-to-back turnovers, Wallace cut the lead to just four points, 66-62, with a little over three minutes to play. Freshman point guard, Andrew Reddick, found Davis for another two-points. Bell blocked a shot on the defensive end and Edwards connected on a pull-up jumper to extend Marion's lead back to eight (70-62) with 1:45 left in the game. Bell followed that play with a steal and a dunk but a layup by WSCC allowed the Lions to call a quick timeout and apply full court pressure.
Bell was immediately fouled on the pass inbounds and made both free throws to bring the score back to ten, 74-64. He rebounded the next WSCC missed shot and returned to the charity stripe for two more makes. Wallace State hit three free throws and immediately fouled Edwards who made one of two attempts from the free throw line. The Lions once again connected from behind the 3-point arc but with 21.0 seconds left, Bell hit one of two attempts to give Marion a 78-69 lead. A missed shot by WSCC gave Bell another rebound and another trip to the free throw line. He made both attempts to give the Tigers a 80-69 edge. A missed shot by the Lions gave Marion the 11-point victory.
Edwards and Boyd each finished with 13 points while Davis scored 10 points. Josue Passius and Willie Dunbar III played solid minutes for Marion, each scoring four points. Andrew Reddick finished with two points and Victor Gray rounded out the scoring with one.
MMI will travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama Monday, February 19 for a re-match with Shelton State Community College. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.