Faulkner falls to Southern Poly

MARIETTA, GA. - Xavier Dawson hit a runner in the lane at the buzzer as No. 16 Southern Poly escaped with a 68-66 victory over Faulkner here Thursday night in Southern States Athletic Conference action.

The Runnin' Hornets used an 11-0 run over a three minute span to take a 66-56 lead with 2:36 left. The Eagles, however, refused to go away. Randell Moore converted a three-point play, followed by an Adam Okechukwu basket and another three-point play from Langston Williams and Faulkner was back to within 66-64. After a missed Southern Poly free throw with 21 seconds left, the Eagles' Drew Boland tied the game with a driving basket with 6 seconds left, setting the stage for Dawson's heroics.

"We just didn't get back with our transition defense, and that's been our problem all season long," Faulkner head coach Jim Sanderson said. "We expected to win this game and we should have won this game. It's very disappointing."

Faulkner trailed 32-20 at the half, and took a three-point lead midway through the final 20 minutes. A Okechukwu basket gave the Eagles a one-point lead with 6:31, but Southern Poly's run gave the Runnin' Hornets control before the frantic finish.

Faulkner (17-11, 6-7 SSAC) got 16 points from Chris Palmore and 14 from Okechukwu. Dawson's 25 points led Southern Poly (22-5, 11-1 SSAC), which also got 13 from Jas Rogers and 12 from Brent Jennings.

Faulkner closes its regular season Saturday afternoon in Mt. Vernon, Ga., against Brewton-Parker. The game tips off at 3.