HANCEVILLE, Ala.--Wallace State Community College's eighth-ranked men's basketball team outscored Northwest Shoals 15-6 over the final minutes five of the game and held on for a 73-64 victory in Thursday's opening quarterfinal game in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Tournament at Shelton State's The Umphrey Center.
Sergio Crowe paced Wallace State with 20 points, Ricardo Hall poured in 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Gaither Hendrix contributed 13 points off the bench.
"We didn't give up too many points, but we had a tough time scoring. We usually have an easier time scoring than that," said Wallace State coach Allen Sharpe. "It was a grind. We're glad we are still playing. We don't have to put our shoes on the shelf just yet."
Wallace State (27-4) had defeated Northwest Shoals by an average of 37 points in their two previous meetings this season. The Patriots made it considerably tougher for Wallace State the third time around.
Both teams traded leads nine times and there were five ties. Neither team enjoyed more than a seven-point advantage until the final surge by Wallace State. The Lions held a 36-33 advantage at the half.
Wallace State's Hendrix was the main cog which helped the Lions' bench outscore Northwest Shoals 23-2. Hendrix, who didn't consistently suit up for Wallace State until January due to a knee injury, logged a season-high 27 minutes.
"I've really been waiting for Gaither to do that all year. He can provide more firepower at guard for us," said Sharpe. "He's started clicking and at least he hasn't run out of time."
Robert Barnes paced Northwest Shoals with 27 points, shooting 11 of 13 from the field and 5 of 6 from behind the 3-point line. Pat Powell contributed 20 points for the Patriots, which closed its season at 10-21.
Wallace State plays the winner of the Alabama Southern-Lawson State game at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the ACCC semifinals. Alabama Southern is the top seed from the Southern Division.