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Senators fall to Motlow State in Region VII title game
 March 10, 2013

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — The Walters State Senators had an amazing run to the NJCAA Region VII Tournament title game this week inside Copperweld Arena on the Motlow State campus, but it ended up one win shy of the title.

The Senators could not find a way to slow down the high-powered TCCAA regular season champion Bucks of Motlow State, who backed up their crown with the tournament championship, winning 71-60 over Walters State.

The win was the 20th in 21 TCCAA games for the 18th ranked Bucks, who improve to 24-3 and will be playing in the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., on March 18-23 for the first time in program history. Motlow State and coach Jerry Nichols, a former two-time All-American at Walters State, lost in the Region VII title game last season to Columbia State.

The loss drops the Senators to 17-15 on the campaign, but they will also be making the trip to Hutchinson for the sixth time under coach Bill Carlyle. Walters State qualified for the national tournament as a zone qualifier by making the tournament championship game.

The Senators had no answers for Motlow’s Chris Hawkins, who slammed his way to 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting in only 23 minutes of action. The highly recruited forward was named the All-Tournament Team MVP after the win.

Darryl Bond came off the bench to score 11 points for the Bucks, and D.J. Jones added nine points in the win.

Cedarius Taylor, who hit the game-winning free throws against Cleveland State Friday with 5.5 seconds left to put the Senators into the national tournament, led Walters State with 15 points and six assists in a solid all-around effort from the freshman. Dedron Pillow added nine points while Tony Wilkerson and Leland Robinson both added seven in the loss. Both Taylor and Robinson were named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Senators led for a good portion of the first half before Hawkins and Bond got the Bucks rolling. The duo helped Motlow State put together 15-4 run that took them from down three to up 26-18 with 8:40 left in the half.

The Bucks continued to build on the lead, and it topped double-digits twice before they took a 42-33 lead at halftime.

Walters State had no second half magic this time around. After erasing a nine-point halftime deficit against Cleveland State to win in the semifinals, the Senators trailed by double-digits for most of the second half against the homestanding Bucks.

Motlow pushed the lead to its zenith at 68-49 before Nichols pulled his starters and Walters State closed the final deficit in the final four minutes.

The Bucks shot 43.8 percent (28 of 64) from the floor in the win, despite making only 6 of 24 (25 percent) from long range.

The Senators ended the contest shooting 42.6 percent (23 of 54) and 3 of 11 from behind the 3-point line. After going 11 of 12 at the free throw line in the semifinals, WSCC made 11 of 19 in the title game, and they were outrebounded 45-29.

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