Marion, AL. - After dominating Maxwell AFB Wednesday evening by a score of 96-63, the Marion Military Institute men's basketball team had a tougher time with the Tornadoes of Talladega College Friday afternoon in front of a large crowd for Family Weekend.
The Tigers fell behind early but were able to take their first lead, 6-5, after sophomore Jacorey Turnipseed hit a three-pointer from the corner. Marion maintained a single digit lead until Turnipseed connected on another three-pointer; assisted by freshman Chris Brown. With the score 33-22, freshman Desmond Ward drove the lane for two points giving the home team their largest lead of the afternoon. Talladega countered with four quick points, but a layup by sophomore Monte Wilkerson once again gave the Tigers a double digit advantage. Wilkerson was fouled right before halftime and hit both free throws to give MMI an 11-point lead at the break.
The Tornadoes came out on fire and quickly cut the Tiger's lead to four two minutes into the second half. Darius Dawson scored Marion's field goal on a putback; he followed that with a layup assisted by Wilkerson and then connected on one of two free throws to keep the lead at seven points, 46-39. Talladega would not go away and cut the lead to three (62-59) with 4:07 remaining in the contest. Ward drove for a layup and Brown was fouled on their next possession. Free throw troubles continued to plague the Tigers as Brown connected on one of two to keep MMI up three with 3:15 on the clock.
Neither team could take advantage of their opponents' miscues until Wilkerson hit a midrange jumper; assisted by Mark Bradwell. Bradwell got a much needed block on the defensive end and Dawson was fouled on an offenseive rebound. He hit one of two from the charity stripe and a foul on the Tigers put the Tornadoes back on the line. Two made free throws and another made basket had the visitors within two points, 67-65, with just 27.1 seconds on the clock.
Bradwell was fouled and again made one of two from the line to give Marion a 68-65 advantage. Talladega called a timeout with 10.9 seconds on the clock to set up their final shot but Desmond Ward stole the ball and sealed the win for Marion.
Turnipseed led MMI with 15 points. Desmond Ward and Darius Dawson each added nine points. Brandon Jackson and Monte Wilkerson scored eight points for the Tigers as they will next travel to Livingston, Alabama October 27th for a scrimmage against the University of West Alabama. Also scoring for Marion were: Mark Bradwell (4), Chris Brown (4), Theron Montgomery (4), Zhavian Green (3), and Javien Sewell (2).