Marion, AL. - The Marion Military Institute men's basketball team punched their ticket to the quarterfinals of the ACCC Tournament, defeating a tough Bishop State Community College squad Saturday afternoon 65-56. Marion will face Coastal Alabama-South Community College at Lawson State Community College Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.
The first half saw a battle between the Wildcats of Bishop State and the Tigers of MMI. After the home team built a six point lead halfway through the first half, the visitors stormed back to tie the game 27 apiece with 2:42 remaining in the period. Marion put together a small run and took a slim 33-31 lead into the break.
The second half saw both teams struggle to score until sophomore Mikel Davis found the basket to put Marion up four. He followed that up with two more and the home team built a 39-32 lead. The Wildcats would not go away and multiple turnovers by Marion allowed them to hang close. Bishop tied the game, 39-39, after an offensive rebound led to a deep three-pointer. Joshua Rathell hit a three-pointer on Marion's next possession but Bishop answered back with a two-point basket of their own. MMI held a one-point lead.
Bishop took their first lead of the game at the 9:06 mark when they connected on an old fashioned three point play; a layup and free throw. Nathan Boyd gave the Tigers the lead back with their next possession and Bishop State once again scored to tie the game at 48 apiece. Boyd broke the tie again with a mid-range jumper and Mikel Davis added two free throws to build Marion's lead back to four points. With a chance at advancing to the ACCC quarterfinals, the Wildcats would not go away easily. They cut the lead back to two with a layup, but Rathell hit from behind the arc to give Marion a five-point lead. Andrew Reddick secured a defensive rebound and Davis hit from the free throw line. Marion extended the lead to 57-50.
Bishop State cut the lead to three with a little over two minutes left in the game, 59-56. Carlos Bell scored on a layup. Bell followed with a defensive rebound and Boyd scored on a layup to give Marion a 63-56 lead with 1:20 in regulation. Bell secured another rebound on the defensive end and connected on both free throws after a quick Wildcat foul. Marion led 65-56. Bell collected the final rebound of the game and a foul on Bishop State with 7.2 seconds remaining secured the win for the Tigers.
Mikel Davis led Marion with 18 points. He was followed by Nathan Boyd with 14 points. Carlos Bell and Joshua Rathell each tallied nine points for Marion, now 18-7 on the season. Rounding out the scoring for Marion - Andrew Reddick (5), Victor Gray (4), Antony Edwards (2), Josue Passius (2), and Willie Dunbar III (2).