Tallahassee, FL - Tallahassee Community College held Marion Military (Ala.) Institute scoreless for the final 3:33 and defeated the Tigers, 66-63, in the Eagles' season opener Thursday evening in the Wing Zone Tip-Off Classic.
The Tigers' Terry Leake hit a pair of free throws to put Marion (1-1) in front 63-62 with 3:33 left in the game. That turned out to be the Tigers' final points of the night. Tallahassee's Leek Leek hit a basket to put TCC in front, 64-63, at the 2:10 mark. Leek addded a free throw with 55 seconds remaining and Carlyle Francis hit one of two from the line with 26 seconds left.
Marion (1-1) had a chance to tie the game but Francis stole the ball from the Tigers' Sherman Smith and promptly ran out the final five seconds for the Eagles, who remained unbeaten (10-0) in season openers under head coach Eddie Barnes while recording their 17th straight season-opening victory overall.
Marion led by as many as 13 in the second half before the Eagles rallied. A 20-6 run pushed Tallahassee in front 55-54, with 6:14 left in the game. The Tigers regained the momentum and led 61-57 at the 4:29 mark before the Eagles' final push to victory.
Leek led a quartet of Eagles in double figures with 13 points and seven rebounds. Francis came off the bench to score 12. Marterrace Brock and former East Gadsden High School standout Rashard McGill added 11 points each.
Willie Readus tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds for Marion, who lost despite a 54-37 advantage on the boards. Leake added 14 points and Horton scored 12.
TCC will play the College of Coastal Georgia at 6 p.m. Friday in the final game of the Wing Zone Tip-Off Classic. Coastal Georgia defeated Lurleen B. Wallace (Ala.) Community College, 69-48, in Thursday's first game.
L.B. Wallace and Marion will tip off Friday's action at 4 p.m.
MARION MILITARY (63)
Cornel Knight, 2; Eric Russell, 2; Joshua Jones, 4; Ladarius Horton, 12; Jermaine Bates, 2; Lavon Hooks, 7; Terry Leake, 14; Larryon Butler, 2; Willie Readus, 14; Austin Allen, 4.
Marterrace Brock, 11; Christian Farmer, 7; Carlyle Francis, 12; Derick Beltran, 8; Leek Leek, 13; Yakimi Noble, 2; Rashard McGill, 11; Richard Anderson, 2.
Halftime: Marion Military 39, Tallahassee 31
Records: Tallahassee (1-0), Marion Military (1-1)