CENTRAL – Southern Wesleyan men’s basketball closed out the regular season with a 71-65 victory over Southern Poly State on Saturday afternoon. The Warriors will head to the SSAC Tournament next week.
Two unusual bright spots emerged on Saturday in Dwayne Bryant and Jamaral Kearse. Bryant has been steady all season long but matched a season-high with 18 points, including 14 in the first half. He notched his 13th double-double with 11 rebounds. Kearse came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points on 6 of 7 from the field. The sophomore knocked down all four three-point attempts.
The Warriors (16-13, 10-8 SSAC) had to overcome a first half deficit on Saturday afternoon. Southern Poly (13-17, 7-11 SSAC) took the early lead and pushed it out to 11 just six minutes into the game. Slowly the Warriors fought back and took the lead at 28-27 with 3:47 to play and essentially led the rest of the way.
SWU led by six at the half and never was able to put the Hornets away but kept them at bay most of the way. With just over a minute to play the Hornets cut the lead to two at 67-65 but Kenny Holmes answered with a basket on the next SWU possession. After a miss by Southern Poly, Cameron Solomon knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the game. Solomon finished with 17 points.
The Warriors shot just .433 from the floor while Southern Poly was .451. The Hornets were 17 of 32 from the free throw line as the Warriors made all eight attempts from the charity stripe.
Southern Wesleyan will head to the SSAC Tournament next week in Montgomery as the third seed from the East and will play the number two seed out of the West. SWU finished tied with Faulkner at 10-8 in the SSAC but the Eagles hold the tiebreaker having won both games this season. As more details are announced about the SSAC Tournament we will have them for you at swuathletics.com.
On Thursday, a 10-point halftime lead turned into a double-digit loss for Southern Wesleyan at Faulkner in Montgomery, Ala. The 63-51 loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Warriors.
Faulkner overcame the 10-point halftime deficit slowly, not taking the lead until just 6:28 remained at 49-47. The Warriors managed just four points in the final six plus minutes, unable to make a comeback as Faulkner pulled away.