The Spring Hill College men's basketball team tamed the red-hot No. 16 Tougaloo College Bulldogs 88-80 on Saturday night at the Arthur R. Outlaw Recreation Center, stopping a 12-game winning streak by the visitors from Mississippi.
The Badgers controlled most of the first half momentum and built as much as an 8-point lead at 27-19 with 7:27 showing on the clock, but the Bulldogs rallied to take a 37-34 lead at 1:23.
Back-to-back successful floating jump shots by senior forward Owen McNally of Long Beach, Miss., gave SHC back the lead at 38-37 going into the intermission.
The second half was an entertaining back-and-forth affair that featured nine ties and four lead changes as both teams battled for control. SHC continually frustrated Tougaloo either by finding open 3-point shots or getting the ball inside to either McNally or junior center Nick Brown.
Down by five points at 73-68 with five minutes showing, the Badgers saw senior guards Patrick Grant of Mt. Vernon, Ala., and Marcus Coleman of Wilmer, Ala., drain consecutive 3-point baskets to take a 74-73 lead just 30 seconds later.
Coleman would then convert on a short jumper, a 3-point basket and four free throws to score nine of the Badgers' last 14 points to seal the victory for the home team.
SHC had five players break into double-figure scoring led by Coleman's 21 points. Brown had 19 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double/double of the season. Grant connected for 15 points including 5-of-6 from 3-point distance. McNally pitched in 13 points before fouling out of the contest and Chris Dees, Jr., canned 12 point off the bench.
Tougaloo (13-2, 5-1 GCAC) was led by Sylvester Collins with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Juan Gray had 18 points and Jejuan Jacks added 15. Tommie Mabry collected 12 points off the bench for the Bulldogs.
The Badgers were 35-68 (51.5%) from the field including a blistering 10-of-21 (47.6%) from 3-point distance. The Bulldogs made 32 of their 77 shots (41.6%) and hit seven of their 22 3-point attempts (31.8%).
The SHC defense forced Tougaloo into 18 turnovers in the face of 15 Badger steals while the Bulldogs benefited from 18 SHC turnovers off just six steals. SHC lost the battle under the boards 42-39 and TC converted 12 second-chance points whereas SHC collected just three second-chance points.
Spring Hill (10-5, 4-2 GCAC) will next travel to Jackson, Miss., to face No. 20 Belhaven University (16-2, 6-0 GCAC) at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Monday night's match will mark the third consecutive NAIA Top 20 team that the Badgers will play in a 5-day time span.