The Motlow Bucks gave their best effort to overcome the absence of two of their top players Wednesday night, but visiting Wallace St. had too much depth as they wore down and beat the Bucks 76-70 in front of a large, loud crowd at Copperweld Arena.
Motlow (5-2, 2-0) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end against one of the best non-conference teams they will play all season. The Bucks return to Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) play when they join the Lady Bucks and travel to Gallatin on Saturday, Nov. 14, for a pair of contests against Volunteer St. Tipoff for the men’s game is approximately 4 p.m.
Guards Stephaun Adams and Ryan Jones were both unavailable to the Bucks for various reasons, forcing head Coach J.T. Burton to alter his rotation. The visiting Lions took advantage by double and sometimes triple-teaming Motlow’s Jaylen Barford, who still scored 34 points. It was the fourth consecutive game that Barford, who was named the national player of the week for the second straight week, has scored at least 30 points.
The Bucks started quickly, jumping out to a 15-5 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. Darius Joell hit an early three-pointer and inside players Reid Pierce, Jared Pearson and JaQualis Matlock each had early buckets for the Bucks. However, the Lions withstood the early deficit and clawed their way back by going on an 11-0 run to take their first lead with 6:30 remaining in the half, which ended with Wallace St. leading 33-27.
Barford was spectacular in the final 20 minutes, scoring 24 of his points. His teammates combined for only 19 points in the second half though, as the visitors stretched their lead at one time to 13. The Bucks never got closer than four points after intermission.
Barford added seven rebounds, three assists and a steal to his 34 points. Joell scored 13 and had a pair of steals, rebounds and assists; and Pearson had nine points, including 7-12 from the free-throw line, and added seven rebounds. Pierce scored six and also had a team-high 10 rebounds, while Axel Magnuson had four points and two assists. Matlock didn’t scored after his early bucket but added six rebounds. Anton Cowherd and Jade Patrick each scored one point, with Patrick adding five rebounds and three steals.
Free-throw shooting was costly for Motlow as the Bucks connected on only 26-40 attempts. Motlow shot 42 percent from the field and pulled down 39 rebounds.
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