Marion, AL. - The MMI Tigers hosted the Lawson State Community College Cougars Thursday evening for another ACCC North match-up. Marion took the win 72-56 and improved to 16-6 overall, 9-3 in the ACCC North. Marion will travel to Wadley, Alabama Monday for a game against Southern Union State Community College before hosting Gadsden State Community College next Wednesday for the final regular season game. Tip-off for Wednesday's game is 7:00 p.m. in the William R. Ireland Athletic Center.
Both teams took a while to get their offense going during the first half of Thursday evening's game. Five minutes into play Marion had a slim 6-2 lead. Lawson remained close and cut the lead to one, 15-14, at the 10:37 mark. The Tigers quickly gained momentum and with 3:05 left in the first half had the Cougars down 32-14. MMI took a 35-18 lead into halftime.
The Cougars came out from the break and hit a three-pointer before Mikel Davis put MMI on the board with a layup. Back-to-back layups from Lawson caused head coach Philip Stitt to call a quick timeout and stop the visitor's momentum. Although Marion missed on their next possession Nathan Boyd blocked a Cougar shot and gave the Tigers another boost of energy. Joshua Rathell connected from behind the 3-poiint arc and followed up with a tip-in on his own shot. That brought the lead back to 42-25 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Lawson made another run and cut the lead to ten (47-37) before Boyd answered with a layup. Rathell got a steal on the defensive end and Josue Passius found Boyd for another two-point basket. Marion extended the lead back to 17 with eight minutes in regulation when Lawson hit another deep three-pointer. Carlos Bell scored on a layup to keep Lawson down sixteen. The Cougars made another small run but couldn't get any closer than thirteen (4:28).
Back-to-back fouls by LSCC allowed Marion to eat away valuable minutes on the clock and extend the lead to 65-49 with two free throws from Davis. With 3:05 left in regulation Lawson began to foul and put the Tigers at the charity stripe. Two Marion free throws increased the lead back to sixteen and Andrew Reddick drew a charge on the next defensive possession to put the home squad fully in control.
Antony Edwards hit two free throws to make the score 69-51 with 2:27 left in the game. Reddick followed with two more from the charity stripe and the lead blossomed to twenty with under two minutes to play. With time running out the Cougars connected on back-to-back baskets and cut MMI's lead to 72-56.
Joshua Rathell led Marion with 17 points. Antony Edwards and Josue Passius both finished scoring in double digits, 14 and 10 respectively. Mikel Davis had nine while Carlos Bell scored eight. Rounding out the scorers for MMI were: Nathan Boyd (6), Victor Gray (4), and Andrew Reddick (4).