|Lady Lions hold on to win, 78-76, and Lions fall, 90-86, in hoops openers at Jones County|
ELLISVILLE, Miss. – The East Mississippi basketball teams opened the 2008-09 campaign by splitting a pair of road contests with Jones County Monday night at Bobcat Gymnasium. The Lady Lions opened the night by holding on for a 78-76 victory, while the Lions dropped a 90-86 decision to the Bobcats in the nightcap.
In the women’s contest, coach Sharon Thompson’s Lady Lions increased a 36-31 halftime lead to as many as 18 points (68-50) with 8:34 remaining in the second stanza. However, the EMCC women squandered its big lead by committing unforced turnovers and struggling from the free-throw line. Failing to take advantage of several 1-and-1 opportunities during the closing period, East Mississippi’s big lead was cut to a single digit over the final seconds of the contest.
Sophomore Angelique Burtts, a transfer from Middle Tennessee State, went to the line with 14.5 seconds left and EMCC leading by a slim 77-76 margin. Burtts could not convert either charity toss, but EMCC retained possession following a tie-up after the second miss via the alternate possession rule. Burtts, who finished with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting in her East Mississippi debut, was fouled on the in-bounds pass and went back to the line with 7.3 seconds remaining. After Burtts sank the first free throw, the Lady Bobcats rebounded the missed second attempt and Demara Bolton’s potential game-winning 3-pointer hit off the back of the rim at the buzzer to preserve EMCC’s two-point, season-opening win.
Making her collegiate debut following a standout career at Meridian’s Southeast Lauderdale High School, freshman Martika Hull just missed a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore point guard Kottia White added 14 points for the winners, while fellow sophomore Jasmine Abrams also collected nine boards.
“I’m pleased with the win to open the season and with the intensity we showed for 40 minutes, but as a coach you’re never satisfied,” Thompson noted. “It’s hard to maintain a big lead on the road. We must eliminate our unforced turnovers and get better at making our free throws.”
For the game against JCJC, the Lady Lions totaled 29 turnovers and converted on only 19-of-36 (53%) free throws.
In the nightcap, coach Mark White’s Lions led, 35-31, at the break, but couldn’t contain preseason first-team NJCAA All-American Trenton Marshall in the second half. Held to just a first-half basket, Marshall exploded for 22 second-half points to finish with 24 for the contest. The visiting Lions were led by Columbus sophomore Darian Donald’s career-high 18 points, followed by 16 points (14 in the second half) from Wallace State-Hanceville transfer Larry Foster in his EMCC debut. With five players scoring in double digits for the visitors, former Starkville High School standouts Woodie Howard and Coco Ware finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while sophomore point guard Cataurius Taylor added 10 points and four assists without committing a turnover.
Despite Marshall’s second-half heroics for Jones County, the East Mississippi men did cut a 13-point, second-half deficit to a single point (84-83) on a Foster 3-pointer with 35.6 seconds left. However, the Bobcats hit six straight free throws the rest of the way to ice the contest. Marshall’s pair of charity tosses with 10 seconds remaining put the home team up by four points (88-84). EMCC‘s Howard trimmed the deficit in half on a put-back basket, but Brian Singleton secured JCJC’s four-point home triumph with a pair of free tosses with just over a tick remaining.
“Tonight was a battle between two good teams, and I’m proud of the way we battled to the end,” White said. “No loss is a good loss, but we’ll learn from this one and make it a productive loss. We must get better in eliminating offensive rebounds by our opponents. We were exposed in that area tonight.”
East Mississippi continues its season-opening, three-game road swing by heading to Decatur to take on East Central in a men’s and women’s doubleheader Thursday evening.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 03 November 2008 )|
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