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November 8, 2011By Hilary Allen of MERIDIAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
The Alabama Southern Community College Eagles spoiled the debut of first year Meridian Community College head coach Nathan Courtney with a 71-68 victory at Graham Gymnasium on Monday night. The Eagles had several opportunities late in the game to seal its first victory under the direction of Courtney, but Alabama Southern was able to hold off several MCC scoring runs late in the game.
“We are just a very immature and selfish team right now this early in the season,” said Courtney. “We just didn’t make shots when we needed and it is a very tough way to start the season.
Alabama Southern carried a 35-31 lead into halftime, but MCC battled back behind the superb play of a pair of newcomers. Giovanni Smith drained a three-point basket and Nick Waters added a pair of free throws to bring MCC to with striking distance at 39-38 with 16:37 left in the game. Waters continued his hot shooting moments later with a jumper to give the Eagles a 40-39 edge with 15:37 left in the second half.
MCC opened its largest lead of the game with a three-point bucket from Kevin Williams to give the Eagles a 55-49 advantage with 9:37 left in the second half. Alabama Southern battled back later in the half to take the lead away from Meridian on a pair of three-point shots by Kendrick Atwood to give the visiting Eagles a 60-59 lead with 5:44 remaining in the game.
Alabama Southern built a lead as large as six points, but Meridian fought back late in the second half to take the lead from the visiting Eagles. Williams drained a wide open three-point basket to give MCC a 66-65 lead with 1:51 left in the game.
The two teams exchanged the lead three separate times, but Alabama Southern scored a basket from Rodney Williams with 37 seconds left to take a 69-68 lead over Meridian. The Eagles had one last defensive stand in the final 20 seconds as Kaylim Noel came up with a huge steal at half court to set-up the final shot of the game for MCC. Waters drove to the basket for a jumper to give MCC the lead, but the former Meridian High standout came up short to keep the score at 69-68 with 14 seconds left. Alabama Southern drained a pair of free throws to take a three-point lead, but MCC would come up empty in its final shot to fall to Alabama Southern 71-68.
Williams led the way in scoring for Meridian with 20 points and Smith added 14 points in the tough home loss for MCC. The Eagles will return to action this Saturday on the road at Marion Military Institute at 7 p.m.
MCC (men) 68
Alabama Southern 71