MONTGOMERY, Ala. ------ After cutting a 15-point margin to just three points with 10:41 left to play, the Auburn Montgomery men's basketball team was outscored 31-8 to close the game, as the Warhawks fell to the visiting Eagles 79-53 Saturday.
With the loss, the Warhawks fell to 5-8 on the season and 4-3 in Southern States Athletic Conference play. The Eagles, ranked 23rd in the latest NAIA Coaches' Poll, improved to 16-3 overall and 7-1 in the league.
"I thought after the half, we played really good basketball for a period," head coach Larry Chapman said. "We played well defensively and chipped away to get the game where we could manage it. Then we turned into a different team. We didn't guard well, turned it over a lot and looked like an entirely new team. From that point on, Faulkner just seemed to relax and made shots."
Junior Reshad Bickham paced AUM with 16 points and a team-leading six rebounds. Sophomore Justin Zachary added 14 points, while junior Dominique Ellis added 10 points off the bench.
Faulkner jumped out to a quick 20-6 lead, as Maurice Whitely slammed home a fast-break dunk with 12:53 to play in the opening period. The Warhawks trimmed the margin to 10 later in the half, but a jumper by Di'Mar Hill with two second remaining pushed the halftime deficit to 13 points, 40-27.
The Eagles extended the lead to 15 points, 44-29, with 17:49 to play on a free throw, but the Warhawks chipped away at the deficit behind a 16-4 run during the next seven minutes. Ellis capped the spurt with a jumper, while Bickham and Zachary combined for 13 of the remaining 14 points during the span.
"We made some progress today," Chapman continued. "There were times when we showed some real toughness and worked through adversity. By the same token, we reversed it and showed no toughness. It's a process. Hopefully we can continue to get better.
For the game, AUM converted just 34 percent of its shots, including hitting just 1-of-14 shots from distance. The Warhawks were also 20-of-30 from the charity stripe. Faulkner knocked down 50 percent of its shots, including eight 3-pointers.
The Eagles also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Warhawks 42-32 in the contest. The advantage led to a six-point swing in second-chance points and a 16-point margin in points in the paint.
Jamarious Alderson led all players with a career-best 23 points, while adding seven rebounds and four steals. Cyrille Sandjon chipped in 15 points and a game-best eight rebounds. Jake Mitchell finished with six assists.
The Warhawks will look to rebound on Thursday, Jan. 17, when they travel to Spring Hill for a 7:30 p.m. tilt.