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The Owls erased a 15-point deficit in the second half but couldn't complete the rally in a narrow loss to the No. 17 Tornadoes on Monday at Anderson Arena.

William Woods University — which is 0-2 after losses to a pair of top-20 teams — was only down 27-22 at halftime. However, Talladega College (10-2) started the second half with a 16-6 run to widen its lead to 43-28 with 16 minutes, 30 seconds to play in the game.

The Owls, though, fought back by responding with a 23-8 run to tie the contest. Sophomore guard Tyriel Nelson's free throw with 8:32 remaining pulled William Woods even at 51-all.

The Owls tied the game four more times, the last at 61-all on sophomore center Darius Yohe's basket in the paint with 2:54 to go. Senior forward Makenzie Fessler's two free throws with :33 left brought William Woods within 67-65, but the Tornadoes were able to seal the victory with two free throws.

Freshman guard Spencer Yoggerst equalled a school single-game record by hitting 14-of-15 free throws to guide the Owls with a game-high 27 points. Fessler added 15 points as William Woods shot 42% (19-of-45) from the field.

Yohe pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds as the Owls were outrebounded 36-29.

Darryl Baker produced 20 points to pace three players in double figures for Talladega, which also shot 42% (24-of-57) as a team. Markel Williams supplied 13 points and Amir Yusuf followed with 12.

William Woods continues its season-opening homestand when it launches American Midwest Conference play against Williams Baptist (Ark.) University at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

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