Walters State - Motlow State

Motlow State spoils Senators’ unbeaten season in overtime


MORRISTOWN – Walters State saw its undefeated season slip away on Wednesday night, as the Senators had an opportunity to close out the game, leading by seven with just under three minutes left, but a 7-0 run by Motlow State sent the game to overtime, where the Bucks won 91-85 to hand Walters State its first loss of the Jerry Nichols era.

Micah Simpson

Walters State’s Micah Simpson (2) goes up for a layup while Motlow State’s Debron Russell (5) defends. Photo by Brian Hamilton

“We just folded at the end of the game,” First-year Walters State coach Jerry Nichols said. “We had the game won, despite all the stuff that was going on throughout the game. I thought we played well enough in the second-half to win the game. I give (Motlow State) all the credit, because they kept fighting and kept fighting and made the plays to win.”

Micah Simpson hit a layup to give Walters State an early 2-0 lead, but the Senators would surrender the next 10 points to Motlow State, as the Bucks led 10-2 with 15:44 left in the first half.

Greg Moore grabbed a steal and took it for a layup to pull Walters State to within 10-4. Motlow State led 12-5 when Ramondo Battle was called for an unusual three technical fouls, which gave the Bucks six consecutive free throws. Isaiah Curry made all six free throws to increase the Motlow lead to 18-5 with 12:55 left in the half.

Motlow State took its largest lead of the game when Curry made a layup to make the score 26-11 midway through the half.

Simpson answered with a three-pointer to make the score 26-14, but the Bucks would hit a three to make the lead 15 again soon after.

Charvez Ambrose

Charvez Ambrose (10) looks for a teammate during the Senators’ overtime loss to Motlow State on Wednesday night. Photo by Brian Hamilton

A three by Terrance Jacobs capped a 7-0 Walters State run, cutting the Senators’ deficit to 29-21 with 7:12 left.

Charvez Ambrose hit a three, followed by two free throws by Greg Moore, which pulled Walters State to within five, at 33-28, with just over five minutes left.

Walters State was unable to get the deficit under five during the last five minutes, but Simpson converted two free throws with three seconds left to send the Senators to halftime trailing 47-41.


A three by Simpson with 17:11 left in the second half gave Walters State a 48-47 lead, its first lead since 2-1 early in the game.

Two more Senator triples would give Walters State a 54-47 lead, capping off a 15-0 run, dating back to the first half.

Motlow would end the bleeding when Andrew Lamuno made a basket to make the score 54-49. A dunk by LaVonte Harris cut the Walters State lead to 54-52, as the Bucks went on a 5-0 mini-run.

Two consecutive three-pointers by Lawrence Montgomery would put Motlow State back in front 69-68 midway through the second half.

Walters State went back in front 70-69 when Carter Metz drained a baseline jumper with 7:47 left in the game. Jacobs nailed a three on the next possession to stretch the Senator lead to 73-69.

A three by Jacobs put Walters State in front 83-75 with 2:43 left in the game and it appeared that if the Senators just stayed the course, they would come away with their 13th consecutive win of the year.

Walters State was leading 83-80 when Jamar Livingston grabbed a rebound and missed a point blank layup that would have put the Senators up five with 38 seconds remaining. Motlow State grabbed the rebound and Curry was fouled and sank both free throws to make the score 83-82 with 15 seconds remaining.

Jerry Nichols

Walters State first-year head coach Jerry Nichols instructs his players during the second half of Wednesday night’s game. Photo by Brian Hamilton

“You’ve got to think about there being 31 seconds on the shot clock and my freshman just didn’t understand,” Nichols said. “It is what it is and things happen. Even with that being said, I put the blame on myself. We’ve been in that situation and we (pulled the ball out) the first time, and just unfortunately, we didn’t do it the second time, but I will take that (blame). Maybe next time we will bring it back out and force them to foul us.”

The Senators turned the ball over on the next possession, as a Walters State player tried to run the baseline when it was not allowed out of the timeout. Simpson then fouled Curry, giving the sophomore guard a chance to win the game.

“I did reiterate in the timeout that you can’t move, but just unfortunately he moved,” Nichols said. “Maybe I need to do a better job of telling them you can’t move and I am willing to do that, so I will accept that blame as well.”

Curry made the first free throw, but the second rolled off the right rim and the game went to overtime tied at 83-83. The Bucks ended regulation on an 8-0 run.

Simpson was fouled on the first possession of overtime and sank both free throws giving Walters State an 85-83 lead, as the Senators scored their first points since the 2:43 mark of regulation.

LaVonte Harris nailed a three to put Motlow State in front 86-85, followed by an errant turnover that led to a Curry layup, giving the Bucks an 88-85 advantage with 1:36 left in overtime.

Livingston was fouled and made both freebies to pull the Senators to within 88-87 with just over one minute remaining.

Anfernee Hanna would stretch the Motlow lead to two possessions, at 92-88 with 31 seconds left and the Bucks would make foul shots down the stretch, handing Walters State a 95-89 loss, its first of the season.

“The game was won (in regulation), but we just didn’t make the plays that we needed to make,” said Nichols. “We didn’t take care of the ball. We just didn’t do the things that we needed to do to win the game. We’ve got to get better and we will get better.”

Motlow State’s LaVonte Harris led all scorers with 31 points and 15 rebounds, while Micah Simpson led Walters State with 24 points. Motlow’s Isaiah Curry finished with 23 points off the bench. Curry converted 11-of-12 free throws, with the only miss being the potential game winner in regulation.

Greg Moore finished with 15 points, while Terrance Jacobs added 13 points and seven assists for the Senators. JaDarian Faulkner added 12 points for Motlow State.

“First loss — nobody said it was going to be easy, I’ll tell you that,” Nichols said after the game. “Hopefully we can grow and get better from it.”

Walters State (13-1, 3-1 TCCAA) will travel to Memphis on Saturday to face conference foe Southwest Tennessee Community College (3-13, 0-4 TCCAA).


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