Demond Walker, Assistant Athletic Director
JACKSONVILLE – The Talladega Men’s Basketball team prepared to battle with the Edward Waters Tigers on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers came in looking to continue to climb the GCAC standings as they entered with a conference record of 7-6. The Tornadoes entered looking to secure the three seed in the playoff picture with a 8-5 record in the GCAC.
The Tornadoes jumped out to a quick 12-6 lead and the TC bench was loving it. Five minutes in, Junior Richard Boggan would hit two big free throws to cap off a strong start for Talladega.
The Tornadoes didn’t stop there. With the Tigers starting to close the gap slightly, Jon Warren would put a stop to that. With the score sitting at 22-18 in favor of Talladega, Warren made a tough lay-up as they jumped ahead 24-18.
Following a Darryl Baker three-pointer to give the Tornadoes a 27-21 lead, the scoring would turn into a back and forth affair for the last five minutes of the half.
Edward Waters did not go into halftime quietly. A couple of big time shots from beyond the arc and key defensive stops closed the Talladega lead to just seven points 38-31.
With momentum on the side of the Tigers to close out the opening frame, TC would change things up and take the momentum back early on in the second. Talladega got the second half started with made free-throws that took the energy out of the Edward Waters fans. These free-throws would put Talladegas lead back up to nine, 40-31.
The Tornadoes would keep the lead for the rest of the game ultimately defeating Edward Waters 76-62.
“This was a big game for us and Edward Waters is not an easy place to play,” said Head Coach Chris Wright. “Our guys showed great focus throughout the week and then executed our game plan really well tonight.”
“Everyone buried us a week ago when we hit that rough stretch,” continued Coach Wright. “Adversity is part of college basketball and I’m proud of the resiliency we have shown. I am looking forward to seeing how we finish this season.”
Baker led the Tornadoes offensively adding strong defensive play as well with 24 points and five rebounds.
R.J. Kelly and Ray Doby added 16 and 12 points respectively with Kelly coming away with six rebounds.
Boggan was clutch for Talladega, earning all nine points shooting a perfect 100 percent.
The win improves Talladega to 23-7 overall and 9-5 in the GCAC as they will now host Philander Smith College on Wednesday for the opening round of the GCAC conference tournament. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.