Written by Ryan Bartels
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Middle Georgia State (10-7, 5-6 SSAC) held the lead for the final 33 minutes in this evening’s 78-63 Southern States Athletic Conference victory over No. 22 Faulkner (13-7, 8-3) here at Tine Davis Gymnasium.
The Knights completed the sweep of the Eagles having defeated Faulkner 84-74 in Cochran, Ga., to open league play in early December.
Tonight’s battle was back and fourth through the first seven minutes of action with Faulkner claiming a brief four-point lead, but the hot-handed visitors soon ignited a 17-7 run that moved them into their largest lead of the first half at 12 points.
Faulkner fired back with a 9-2 run of its own late in the period, however, cutting the Knight lead to just four points at the break.
Middle Georgia State responded with a series of strong scoring runs throughout the second half, however, that proved too much for the Eagles to overcome.
The Knights were led by SSAC Player of the Week Kinston Stansfield who finished the game with 22 points and six rebounds despite being held to just five points in the first half.
Faulkner was paced by Logan Jozwiak, who also offered up 22 points, while leading all defenders with nine rebounds.
Jose Jimenez followed with 13 points, seven assists and six boards while Rene Scott had 11 points, four assists and two rebounds.
“You have to give them credit,” said head coach Scott Sanderson, “they played awfully well. They’re big and physical and it’s a war with them every time. We certainly missed not having Di’mar [Hill] tonight, but you have to learn to deal with that. I think the biggest thing for us right now is mentality. We played with confidence a few weeks ago, we played expecting to win. For the last few games we’ve been playing hoping to win and that’s not good enough. We have to find our confidence before we head into the weekend.”
Faulkner will next host No. 6 Dalton State in SSAC action Saturday. The Eagles clipped the Roadrunners 89-83 in Dalton, Ga., in early December. The rematch is slated for 3 p.m.