|East Mississippi completes successful home stand with doubleheader sweep over Northwest|
With the Lions scratching out an 82-79 victory and the EMCC women notching an 84-65 triumph, the teams extended their current winning streaks to six and five consecutive games, respectively.SCOOBA, Miss. – The East Mississippi basketball teams capped a perfect three-game home stand by sweeping Northwest Mississippi in their North Division openers Monday night at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the EMCC campus.
Following home wins over Jones County (86-57) and Alabama Southern (62-42) last week, coach Sharon Thompson’s Lady Lions once again jumped out to an early double-digit lead against the Lady Rangers. With freshman Martika Hull of Meridian’s Southeast Lauderdale High School scoring nine of the team’s first 15 points, EMCC raced to a 19-6 margin by the 12:26 mark. As Northwest struggled with 27 percent first-half shooting (7-of-26 FGs), the Lady Lions built a 37-22 halftime advantage.
EMCC appeared to have the victory in hand early in the second stanza by scoring the first six points of the half to take a seemingly comfortable 43-22 lead by the 18:20 mark. However, the Lady Rangers tallied 15 unanswered points to cut the deficit to just six points (43-37) following a three-point basket and subsequent three-point play by freshman guard Tamara Wadlington. During that stretch, the Lady Lions went nearly six minutes without scoring until sophomore Angelique Burtts scored at the 12:37 mark. Burtts, who recently signed with Georgia State, and sophomore point guard Kottia White of Jackson Murrah High School helped push the lead back up to double figures midway through the half.
The Lady Rangers, now 8-3 overall and 0-1 in North play, would not go away easily, as Ciera Thomas connected on a 3-pointer with 8:10 remaining to trim the EMCC lead to five points at 58-53. En route to posting her second straight double-double, Burtts came through again for East Mississippi by answering Thomas’ trey with a triple of her own. The Conyers, Ga., native then hit a floating jumper and fed Hull in the post for an easy inside bucket to enable the Lady Lions to reclaim a double-digit cushion (67-57) they would not relinquish during the remaining six minutes.
Hull led a quartet of double-figure EMCC scorers with 21 points on 8-of-10 field-goal shooting and 5-of-7 from the line. Burtts finished with 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while White added 16 points for the winners. Wadlington and Thomas paced the visitors with 22 and 17 points, respectively.
During Monday’s nightcap in Scooba, coach Mark White’s Lions shot 52 percent from the field (17-of-33 FGs) in the opening half, while also taking advantage of 15 first-half Northwest turnovers and costly 2-of-12 free-throw shooting by the visitors, to maintain a slim 41-37 halftime margin. Keyed by the play of sophomore guard Kevin Harris, who hit four of his first five three-point attempts in the contest, the Rangers took the lead early in the second half of play.
The momentum of the game seemed to turn when Harris hurt his left ankle on a drive to the basket at the 13:10 mark. With the Douglas, Ga., native on the bench, the Lions scored six unanswered points to turn a one-point deficit into a five-point lead (61-56) by the 11:21 mark. After Harris returned to the game midway through the half, Northwest outscored the home team, 12-2, during a five-minute span to take a five-point lead (68-63) of its own with 6:26 left in the contest.
Capped by a put-back basket and a 3-pointer by Columbus’ Darian Donald, the Lions reclaimed the lead, 70-68, a minute later following an EMCC timeout. After a pair of ties and two lead changes, John Harris of Starkville hit both free throws after getting fouled with just under a minute left. Following a Northwest turnover, Donald stepped to the stripe with a chance to extend the Lions’ 76-74 lead. Donald missed both charity tosses, but Starkville’s Coco Ware saved the night for EMCC by collecting his fifth steal of the game on the subsequent rebound and converting the key layup under the basket. Ware would later hit two clutch free throws to give the Lions an 81-76 lead. Northwest’s Justin Gillard bombed in a trey and EMCC’s Cataurius Taylor hit a free throw in the waning seconds to result in the final three-point outcome.
Donald, formerly of Caledonia High School, registered his second straight double-double and third of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Ware finished with 15 points and five steals, while Taylor and Larry Foster added 11 points apiece in the winning effort. Falling to 7-2 overall in their North Division opener, the Rangers were led by Harris and Gillard with 16 points apiece.
The 9-2 Lady Lions won’t return to action until the new calendar year. Having also knocked off Jones County (94-91 in OT) and Bevill State-Jasper (95-77) during their recent successful home stand, the 7-3 Lions travel to Monroeville, Ala., to take on Alabama Southern on Saturday (Dec. 13).
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 December 2008 )|
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