HANCEVILLE – Wallace State men’s basketball team shook off its post-Christmas rust with a thrilling 71-67 victory over Columbia (Tenn.) State on Tuesday night, completing a sweep after the Lady Lions cruised to a 77-47 win in the opener.
Wallace State freshman Jestin Lewis, a Richmond, Va. native, took care of business in the final seconds of the men’s game. With 17.2 seconds remaining, Lewis broke a 67-67 tie by nailing a jumper from the free-throw line in heavy traffic. He intercepted an errant pass on Columbia State’s next possession and sealed the victory by making a pair of free throws with 3.3 seconds left.
Lewis scored nine of his 16 points in the second half, propelling Wallace State (12-4) to its sixth consecutive victory.
“We needed a game like that before we start the conference season (on Monday). The game shouldn’t have been as close as it was in the closing minutes, but we made a big shot when we needed to and delivered a big stop on defense,” said Wallace State coach John Meeks, whose team played its first game since Dec. 18. “We’re trying to get back to how we looked in December, when we were playing extremely well.”
Wallace State led 37-28 at the half and scooted out to a 49-37 advantage after a 3-point play by Jamalcolm Griffin with 13:44 remaining in the game.
Columbia State responded with a 12-0 run during a three-minute stretch to tie it at 49. The teams traded leads three times over the four minutes, and a Jacquise Moore 3-pointer with 6:39 remaining tied it again at 56. The Lions put together a 10-2 run, but Columbia State battled back yet again, tying it at 67-67 with 43 seconds remaining after a Kemion Green basket.
Lewis provided the final surge for Wallace State, which beat Columbia State for the second time this season.
Moore finished with a team-high 17 points for Wallace State, nailing four 3-pointers, while Griffin had 16 behind three 3’s. Marcus Johnson pitched in with eight points, Quinterian McConico had seven and Ryan King added six.
Sha’Karee Scaife led Columbia State in the loss with 19 points and Bryan Akinkugbe added 17.
Wallace State’s men begin conference play at Snead State on Monday.
Wallace State women 77, Columbia State 47
Ashley Nance continued her dominating work in the paint for the Lady Lions and nine players overall made scoring contributions in Wallace State’s rout.
Nance finished with 24 point and 14 rebounds, tallying her ninth double-double of the season.
Jasmine Coleman added nine points and four rebounds for Wallace State, Kelsie Montgomery contributed eight points and nine rebounds off the bench, Morgan Pearson had eight points, Jaylan Snowden dished out 10 assists and scored five points and Hannah Sharp added seven points.
The Lady Lions (11-5) controlled the tempo from the opening tip. Snowden, Sharp and Kendall Greene each drained 3’s in the opening six minutes, complementing eight quick points by Nance to help Wallace State sustain a comfortable 23-6 cushion with 12:36 remaining in the first half.
Wallace State extended the lead to 43-26 at the half and coasted the rest of the way.
“It’s a good start to the second half of the season. We’ve been talking about how this is a new season so basically we are counting ourselves being 1-0 in 2013. If we don’t lose again in 2013, we are conference and national champions,” said Wallace State coach Ron Burdette. “It’s been crazy how well Ashley Nance has played the last month, and I thought we received some quality minutes from Jasmine Colman, Kelsie Montgomery and Lauren Harris in the middle. Jasmine is starting to get it and is a step stronger, faster and bigger and playing a whole lot more aggressive.”
Wallace State, who outrebounded Columbia State 62-46, hosts Faulkner University’s JV on Saturday before league play begins on Monday.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the way we’ve been playing,” Burdette said. “We’ve got to keep getting better and better.”
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
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