ALTON – Sometimes it just takes one player to provide a spark for a team.
Latest case in point: Alton's Maurice Edwards.
Edwards wasn't expected to play in Friday's Southwestern Conference home game against Edwardsville because of a deep thigh bruise. But with the Redbirds down in the third quarter, Alton coach Eric Smith inserted him into the lineup.
And from there, the Redbirds couldn't be stopped, bouncing back to take a 63-52 win over the Tigers, handing Edwardsville its third straight SWC defeat.
“He's explosive,” Smith said. “He's still learning the game and he'll make some plays that make you want to pull your hair out at times, but when's he's clicking...he's going to be a very special player.”
Edwardsville was playing short-handed; senior guard Dan Marinko wasn't available because of a football recruiting trip. Jordan Harris took his place in the lineup.
“Jordan played pretty well; he did some really good things out there,” Tiger coach Mike Waldo said, “but Dan's a one-percenter; he's the kind of guy I'd certainly want on my team. He's a winner.”
Waldo wasn't particularly upset with how the Tigers performed. “I'm not displeased in how we played,” Waldo said. “We had a chance to win it, but they're a pretty hard team to play against.”
Edwardsville took an early lead and kept it thanks to three straight three-pointers from Oliver Stephen and some great baskets from Kyler Davis, who's driving lay-up with 2.2 seconds left in the first half put the Tigers up 28-22.
The Redbirds opened the second half with six straight points to tie it at 28-28, but Edwardsville bounced back on a Mark Smith 3-ball and a inside basket from AJ Epenesa. That's when Edwards entered the game, and his presence sparked the Redbirds and sent the Alton supporters into a frenzy, especially after a driving lay-in with 2.1 seconds left in the third gave the Redbirds the lead for good.
From there, it was all Alton, who managed to extend the lead by as much as 46-38 and 54-42 before shutting the door completely on a Carlos Anderson slam with 2:09 left.
Anderson led Alton (14-3 overall, 6-2 in the SWC) with 18 points, with Darrius Edwards adding 11. Edwardsville's (9-7 overall, 4-3 in the league) Smith led all scorers with 19 points. Kyler Davis added 11 for the Tigers.
Alton 63, Edwardsville 52
Alton Marquette 51, Mascoutah 47
Roxana 70, Staunton 41
Collinsville 64, Belleville West 57
Belleville East 65, Granite City 62 (OT)
O'Fallon 62, Duschene (St. Charles, Mo.) 52
Carbondale 52, Cahokia 43
Belleville Althoff 64, Marion 55
Highland 55, Madison 53
Bunker Hill 60, Lebanon 47
Central Michigan 26, SIU-Edwardsville 9
MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
North Dakota State 61, Western Illinois 48
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Southern Illinois 65, Indiana State 53
Evansville 62, Illinois State 50
BELLEVILLE EAST 65, GRANITE CITY 62 (OT): Javon Pickett had 27 points, including three in overtime, as Belleville East upended Granite City 65-62 in a clash of winless Southwestern Conference teams Friday night at East.
The Lancers (5-10 overall, 1-6 SWC) trailed the Warriors by eight at three-quarter time but rallied to force OT.
EnRico Sylvester had 17 points for the Lancers, with Brady Schanuel adding 12.
Kenny Berry led the Warriors (6-10 overall, 0-7 SWC) with 19 points, with adding 17.
COLLINSVILLE 64, BELLEVILLE WEST 57: Anfirnee Wilkinson had 25 points as Collinsville handed Belleville West its fourth straight loss, 64-57, in a Southwestern Conference tilt in Belleville Friday night.
Emondre Rickman added 11 points for Collinsville (9-8 overall, 2-4 SWC) and Ronnie Midgett scored 10.
Austin Siebert led the Maroons (5-9 overall, 2-5 SWC) with 15 points, with Demond White adding 14 and Eugene Jones 13.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 26, SIU-EDWARDSVILLE 9: Central Michigan won four bouts by one or two points to defeat SIU-Edwardsville 26-9 in a dual wrestling meet at Vadalebene Center Friday night.
Cougar winners on the night included Jake Riesdon at 174, Derek Nagel at 184 and Chris Johnson at 285.
SIUE fell to 3-12 on the season in dual meets; they were set to take on Northern Illinois at Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield Saturday night.
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