Marion, AL. - After dropping their first ACCC North game last Thursday at Lawson State CC, the MMI Tigers rebounded with an overtime home win against the Southern Union State Community College Bisons, 65-62. Marion will have several days off this week and prepare to travel to Boaz, Alabama for a rematch next Monday against Snead State Community College.
MMI started the game pounding the ball inside and sophomore Mikel Davis used his size to score 10 of his 12 points in the first period. Southern Union tried to put together several runs and actually cut Marion's lead to one with 12 minutes left in the half. The Tigers quickly extended their lead during their next few possessions and had a double digit lead, 32-22, at the 1:05 mark. The Bisons connected for a two-point basket in their last possession before the half; Marion led 32-24 at halftime.
Southern Union switched defenses to start the second half, trying to slow down the Tiger's offense. Back-to-back turnovers by Marion gave a small momentum shift to the Bisons before Connor Zinaich was fouled (16:00) driving to the basket. He connected on both attempts from the charity stripe, and the Tigers extended the lead back to nine, 38-29. A Bison turnover on their next possession allowed Zinaich to score again on an offensive rebound, giving the home squad an 11-point lead.
Southern Union continued to fight back over the next few minutes and cut the lead to one-point, 44-43, at the 12:16 mark. After a quick timeout from the visitors, Zinaich once again scored to keep Marion up three. Both teams traded baskets until an aggressive run by SUSCC allowed them to tie the game, 51 apiece, with just under seven minutes to play. MMI took the lead back (53-51) when freshman Nathan Boyd hit two free throws. The Bisons responded on their end to bring the game back to a tie, 53-53. Sophomore Carlos Bell put Marion back up two (55-53) with a drive to the basket. A foul on Marion allowed the Bisons to cut the cut back to one, 55-54 with 3:37 left in regulation.
Southern Union took their first lead of the game, 57-58, with 28.0 seconds remaining. Bell was fouled on MMI's last possession and hit one of two from the free throw line to tie the game, 58-58. An errant attempt from Southern Union sent the game into overtime.
In the extra period, both teams traded baskets and the score remained tied (62-62) with 1:49 left on the clock. Zinaich's offensive putback gave the Tigers a 64-62 lead. Mikel Davis took a charge on the next Bison possession to give the home team the ball with just over one minute remaining. A missed shot attempt by the Tigers gave Southern Union the ball but a blocked shot and quick rebound by Carlos Bell allowed Marion to secure the ball back into their possession. Bell was fouled immediately. He hit one of two at the charity stripe, giving Marion a 3-point lead. Southern Union's last attempt was missed, allowing Marion to escape with their fifth ACCC North victory.
Antony Edwards led Marion with 14 points. Davis and Zinaich each had 12 points while Carlos Bell finished with 10. Rounding out the scorers from MMI - Nathan Boyd (8), Willie Dunbar III (4), Andrew Reddick (2), Joshua Rathell (2), and Victor Gray (1) The Tigers are now 12-4 overall and 5-1 in the ACCC North.