Wallace State’s men’s basketball squeaks out thriller vs. Gadsden State; No. 19 Lady Lions roll during sweep

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Kuran Garner scored all 12 of his points in the second half for the Lions. (Russell Moore/WSCC Athletics)

HANCEVILLE, ALA. –  Wallace State’s women’s basketball team opened Thursday’s home doubleheader against Gadsden State with a convincing 92-64 victory, and the men eked out a thrilling 71-69 win, capping a conference sweep at Tom Drake Coliseum.

Wallace State’s men scored the final seven points of the game, seizing control in the final 90 seconds after a Gadsden State technical foul.

Clinging to a 69-67 edge, Gadsden State’s Kendrick Buskey was charged with the technical for a fake flop, leading to the deciding points for Wallace State.

Eugene Leonard’s technical free throw cut the Lions’ deficit to 69-68 and Kuran Garner drained a 3-pointer on the same possession, swinging the lead in Wallace State’s favor.

Gadsden State failed to generate high percentage shots during its final two possessions. Leonard thwarted the final possession with a steal to end the game, improving the Lions to 11-8 overall and 2-1 in Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) play.

“We kept our composure when things weren’t going well, and that’s something we’ve been talking about. You’ve got to play through all 40 minutes and not fold. Our guys didn’t fold and made enough plays to win at the end. That’s what it takes to win a conference game,” said Wallace State men’s coach Collin Dimitroff.

Wallace State had five players finish with double figures. Sophomore Christopher Sampson paced the attack, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the first half, while Garner poured in all 12 of his points in the second half.

Leonard and Markise Davis scored 11 points apiece for Wallace State and Juwan Johnson added 10 points off the bench. McLeon Charles contributed with six points. 

“It’s important to have that much balance in a conference game. It shows the unselfishness of the team,” Dimitroff said.

Wallace State led 37-32 at halftime and constructed as much as a 15-point cushion early in the second half.

Gadsden State rallied and led by as many as five points before Wallace State’s final answer.

Women’s game

No. 19 Wallace State 92, Gadsden State 64

The 19th-ranked Lady Lions cruised past the Lady Cardinals in their ACCC opener. It was Wallace State’s first game in 12 days and the first home game since Dec. 16.

Wallace State (15-3, 1-0 ACCC) was fueled by five players finishing with double figures. The Lady Lions led by as many as 15 points in the first half and extended the margin considerably after halftime.

Sophomore guard Imari Martin scored a game-high 20 points, Tawana Nevels had 14 points and Kyra Williams scored 13. Jiselle Woodson poured in 12 points for the Lady Lions and Olivia Howard had a career-high 10 points off the bench, registering double digits for the first time in her career. Jasmine Baker and Cherelle Straughter added nine points apiece.

“After a two-week layoff, we couldn’t have been more ready to play, especially at home. Gadsden State came out with a good game plan and made it tough on Imari and Kyra early. That allowed others to step up and produce. We need everyone across the board offensively,” said Wallace State women’s coach Jessica McBrayer.

Both Wallace State teams continue league play at Lawson State on Saturday.

For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit www.athletics.wallacestate.edu or the athletics Facebook page at www.wallacestate.edu/athleticsfb.