Marion, AL - After a win Tuesday night against the 21st ranked Wallace State CC Lions, the MMI men's basketball team almost had a letdown against the scrappy Cardinals from Gadsden State Community College Thursday evening.
With Marion leading 42-34 at halftime, the Cardinals turned up the intensity on defense and hit some outside shots to cut into Marion's lead. At the nine minute mark, the game was tied with the momentum sliding over to Gadsden State. A three-pointer by freshman Quamauri Hardy and layups from sophomore Ronnie Baylark and freshman Charles Tripp had the score back in favor of the Tigers, 64-57. Another three-pointer from Gadsden and consistent free throw shooting cut the lead back to two points with less than five minutes to play.
Marion once again found a way to score and held a slim 68-64 lead with under four minutes to play in regulation. Baylark connected on a two-point basket and then back-to-back steals from Hardy and Tripp helped keep the home squad in front. The Tigers were able to build the lead back to eight (76-68) after Hardy made two free throws and then converted on a layup. Gadsden fought hard in the final minutes, not making it easy for MMI to improve their winning streak to 10 games. The Tigers prevailed with the 78-71 victory.
Baylark led all scorers with 27 points. Charles Tripp and Christian Bradford both finished scoring in double digits with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Hardy had nine for the Tigers while sophomore point guard Chase Garvin scored three points. Neiman Dunams ended the game with five points while Tyquarious Arnold, Mike Nobles, Mile Perdue, and Dotson Griffin each finished with two points apiece.
With the win, Marion improves to 15-3 overall, and 4-0 in the ACCC North. The Tigers will travel to Lawson State Community College Monday for another tough ACCC North matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.