HANCEVILLE, Ala.--The eighth-ranked Wallace State men are in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXII championship game for the third consecutive season.
Sophomores L.A. Farmer and Ricardo Hall scored 14 points apiece and Wallace State never trailed in a 75-61 triumph over Alabama Southern in Friday's Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) tournament semifinal game at Shelton State's The Umphrey Center.
"It's all you can ask for to be in the championship game. I told our guys there are 18 teams in our conference and there will be only two left. We might as well be one of them," said Wallace State coach Allen Sharpe. "Hopefully we'll play with the same intensity as we did tonight (Friday). If an 18-year-old can't get up for this game, I don't know who can."
Gaither Hendrix and Donterious Hughes combined to pour in 21 points off the bench for Wallace State (28-4) as it disposed of the Southern Division's top seed in the tournament.
The Lions put together as much as a 14-point lead in the first half, but Alabama Southern trimmed the deficit to 35-31 at halftime.
Alabama Southern (27-5) never got closer than within four points the rest of the way.
"Our guys did a great job of never getting rattled. Alabama Southern threw a lot of pressure at us and it never sped us up or got us out of our comfort zone," Sharpe said. "Our defense did as good of a job as it could do against their top players."
Darrick Thomas contributed eight points and four rebounds for Wallace State, while Ricky Sears had seven points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Rico Sanders paced the Eagles with 17 points, Terrick Phillips had 13 and Nick Watkins 12.
Wallace State plays the Shelton State-Faulkner State winner at 7:30 p.m. Saturday for a bid to the NJCAA National Tournament. Shelton State and Faulkner State tipped off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Wallace State split two regular-season meetings with rival and seventh-ranked Shelton State and hasn't play Faulkner State.