COLUMBUS – Five fouls wasn’t enough to bench Javon Randolph and Tupelo’s Rock-N-Rollers wound up paying the price.
Randolph, who scored 25 of his game-high 27 points in the second half Saturday to lead the Buford (Ga.) Majic to a 99-94 victory over Tupelo in a battle between the WBA Exposure League’s top two teams at Columbus High School gym.
Randolph, a guard, picked up his fifth foul late in the fourth quarter, but remained in the game despite a protest from Tupelo coach Brian Alexander.
“The league rules say the player foul limit is five,” he said. “The ref told me the league commissioner had changed it to six.
“That’s not the reason we lost. Our intensity wasn’t where it needed to me. That’s my fault.”
Randolph later scored on a baseline drive for a layup, then added two free throws with 24 seconds left to help Buford seal the win.
“I had a bad first half,” Randolph said, then smiled. “I knew I had to pick it up.”
The Majic, which lost its first game of the season Friday at home to Cartersville, Ga., upped its record to 8-1 while Tupelo’s record slipped to 5-3.
Jason Smith scored 22 points, O’Brian Lowe 16, Daryl Wilson 15 and Courtney Bradley 14 for Tupelo.
For Buford, Adrian Penland scored 26 points, 18 in the first half.
The score was tied three times in the fourth quarter, the last time at 84-84. Randolph broke the deadlock with a 3-pointer to give the Majic the lead for leeps.
The Rock-N-Rollers return to action next Friday with a final home game against Rome, Ga., scheduled for the St. Paul Life Center in Tupelo.
Tupelo owner Russell Brooks said his club may play a June 29 home game against Carters-ville, Ga., which would be a make-up game from earlier in the season.
Tupelo used an 11-0 run midway in the first quarter to race to a 19-8 lead, but the visitors rallied with a 12-2 run of their own to trim the Rock-N-Rollers’ lead to 21-20.
Lowe came off the bench to score Tupelo’s lone points – five – in the final 3:04 of the opening quarter. His late 3-pointer gave the Rollers a 24-22 lead.
Penland scored 13 of his half-high 18 to kept the Majic close.
Buford tied the score twice in the second quarter before taking the lead, 42-40, at the 3:10 mark on a layup by Michael Sloan, who started the play with a steal.
The Majic kept the lead the remainder of the half and led 53-48 at halftime.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal