Middle Georgia upsets Faulkner Lady Eagles 49-46
Having won seven of its last eight outings, Reed Sutton’s Faulkner basketball team had steadily crept up the Southern States Athletic Conference standings, and with 10th-place Middle Georgia State visiting Tine Davis Gymnasium here Saturday afternoon it appeared the Lady Eagles’ ascent would continue.
And that’s why games aren’t played on paper.
The Knights, despite shooting just 22 percent from the field, overcame a 10-point, third-quarter deficit and held Faulkner to just two field goals in the last 13 minutes of the game en route to a 49-46 upset victory at Tine Davis Gymnasium.
Savana Flack’s 3-pointer with three minutes left in the third quarter put the Lady Eagles ahead 37-27, but an eight-minute drought without a basket allowed Middle Georgia State to crawl back in it. With the game tied at 46 with 58 seconds left, Tascianna Taylor scored on a putback to give the Knights the lead. They never trailed again.
Faulkner’s Faith LeGate misfired on a 3-point try with at the 15-second mark, and China Leary couldn’t convert a runner with 8 seconds to play. Taylor grabbed the rebound and, after being fouled, made the second of two free-throw tries to push the margin to three. The Lady Eagles’ Erichea Barnes had her 3-point attempt in the final seconds bound off the rim, allowing Middle Georgia State to improve to 4-9 in the SSAC and 8-14 overall. The setback dropped Faulkner to 7-6 in the league and 11-12 overall.
“We didn’t get after them early in the game and that allowed them to build some confidence,” Sutton said. “We were up by eight at halftime, and had we played like we should have it could have been much more. You have to give them credit, however, for making the plays needed to win. We didn’t shoot it well from the field, or from the free-throw line, and we need to do a better job of that, especially at home.
“This is a tough league, where most every game is going to be decided by single digits. Playing with energy and enthusiasm is so important, and we didn’t do that tonight. It was as if we thought we just had to show up to win.”
Faulkner made 26 percent of its shots, but just 20 percent in the second half. The Lady Eagles, who did make 5-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter, missed 17 of their final 19 shots from the field. For the game Faulkner made eight free throws in 15 attempts.
The frigid shooting by both teams results in a 110 rebounds, with Middle Georgia missing 61 field goal tries and Faulkner 49. The Lady Eagles turned it over 18 times to 11 for the Knights.
LeGate had 17 points and six rebounds for the Lady Eagles, who placed nobody else in double figures. Brandy Alley and Olivia Adamson both had double-digit rebounds, finishing with 21 and 14 respectively. TyAsia Grayer finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Knights, who also got 10 points from Kayler Fletcher, all of which came in the second half. Taylor added eight points and 16 rebounds for Middle Georgia State.
Faulkner travels crosstown next Saturday for a rematch with rival Auburn Montgomery. The Lady Eagles beat the Warhawks at home 59-45 last Saturday. The game at AUM tips off at 2 p.m.