Marion, AL. - With all thirteen players dressed in game uniforms for the first time this season, first year head coach Timothy Rodgers got his first win with a 77-57 victory at home against the War Hawks from Coastal Alabama CC-East.
MMI's offense started slow and didn't connect on their first two points until the 18:23 mark when freshman Brandon Jackson scored three points the old-fashioned way; a basket and a free throw. Darius Dawson followed with two of his seven points to give the home squad a quick 5-0 lead. Coastal-East was held in check until the 17:40 mark when they drove the lane and scored on a contested layup. The Tiger's lead jumped to double digits, 15-5, when sophomore point guard Jimmie Sanders hit from behind the three-point arc. The War Hawks would put together a few small runs in the first half but Marion was able to answer back. With a 19-12 lead, Jacorey Turnipseed scored on a mid-range jumper. Larry Penn stole the ball which led to an easy dunk on the offensive end. Turnipseed followed with another quick steal on the inbound pass and layed up for another two points. Dawson made it a trifecta with back-to-back-to-back steals and found Desmond Ward for a layup. Turnipseed added another two points and Marion held a 31-14 lead with under five minutes to play in the first period. Both teams exchanged baskets but several missed free throws by the visitors gave the Tigers a 40-23 lead at the break.
The War Hawks came out of halftime energized and cut the lead to thirteen within the first two minutes. Marion's scoring drought ended at the 16:53 mark when Penn scored on a drive to the basket. With Coastal Alabama-East cutting the lead to single digits, Zhavian Green hit a three-pointer to extend the lead back to twelve, 46-34. Marion would put together several small runs and build the lead back to eighteen but the War Hawks would once again scrap their way back into the game. With 5:30 to play in regulation Marion held a 66-54 lead but with aggressive play on the defensive end, they shifted into another gear and put the game out of reach. Ward made two free throws and was followed by Turnipseed who hit one of two from the charity stripe. Penn was sent back to the free throw line after connecting on a layup to make the score 73-55. Penn found Turnipseed on their next possession to give the Tigers a twenty point lead, 75-55. Mark Bradwell found Penn for an easy dunk for Marion's last possesion, giving them the 77-57 victory.
Jacorey Turnipseed (16), Larry Penn (15), and Desmond Ward (10) all finished scoring in double digits for the Tigers. Also contributing in the scoring column was: Zhavian Green (8), Darius Dawson (7), Mark Bradwell (7), Jimmie Sanders (5), Brandon Jackson (5), and Chris Brown (4).
Marion will host Talladega College Tuesday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m. in the William R. Ireland Athletic Center.