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Motlow Bucks head into final week of regular season hoping to improve tournament seeding

Feb. 20, 2017

The No. 22 ranked Motlow State Bucks finished off the home portion of their basketball season Saturday afternoon with a dominating 98-62 win over Dyersburg State at Copperweld Arena.

The Bucks (24-4, 13-3) have two regular season games remaining against TCCAA conference opponents on the road. Motlow travels to Columbia State Wednesday, then closes the regular season in Jackson against Jackson State on Saturday.

Columbia State gave the Bucks fits on Motlow's home floor back on Nov. 11, before the Bucks secured a 98-90 win over the Chargers. Jackson State handed Motlow its only home loss of the season, 77-75, on Nov. 12.

The Bucks have already qualified for the NJCAA national tournament by virtue of their clinching the TCCAA regular season championship. However, the more games the Bucks win between now and the start of the national tournament on March 20 in Hutchinson, Kansas, the higher seed Motlow will likely receive.

Dyersburg State came into Copperweld Arena on Saturday intent on giving the Bucks everything they had and they succeeded, staying within a point or two of the lead through the first 10 minutes. Motlow Head Coach J.T. Burton went to his bench early and often, and his team began to wear down the visitors late in the first half and carried a 38-28 lead into intermission.

After the break it was all Bucks though as they outscored the Eagles 60-34 in the final 20 minutes. Motlow had its best day of the year at the free throw line, connecting on 28 of 33 attempts. The Bucks dished out 23 assists and captured 22 steals, including eight by Dillon Smith, which ties him for third on the all-time school record list for steals in a single game. The record of 10 was set by freshman Isaiah Hart back on Jan. 25.

Motlow featured six players in double-digit points, led by Javion Hamlet and Smith with 14 each. Hamlet, who leads the nation in assists, dished out seven dimes, while Smith added seven assists and three rebounds to perhaps his best game of the season.

Jalen Bell scored 13 points with nine rebounds, Chad Emmons had 12 points and six boards, Javel Gillespie scored 11 with five rebounds and three steals, and Damarcus Williams scored 10 points with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

Hart had eight points with two assists and three steals, Aleksandar Zecevic scored six, and Ross Plunkett and Rashawn Fredericks scored five points each, with Plunkett adding two steals and Fredericks, the top rebounder in the state with an average of 10.6 per game, pulling down 12 boards.