|EMCC Lions fall, 77-67, to Holmes in semis of NJCAA Region 23 hoops tourney|
CLINTON, Miss. – The third time was not a charm for the East Mississippi men’s basketball team, as the Lions dropped a 77-67 decision to Holmes Wednesday afternoon in the semifinals of the 2009 NJCAA Region 23 Tournament played at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
The 10-point regional loss to the Bulldogs marked EMCC’s third setback to Holmes on the season. During the regular season, Holmes prevailed by scores of 82-68 in Scooba and 68-63 in Goodman.
During Wednesday’s regional action in Clinton, the Bulldogs scored seven straight points early in the contest to take a 17-8 lead with 13:20 remaining. The Lions answered with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to a single point (17-16) by the midway point of the opening period. Later in the half with EMCC still trailing by a point (25-24) following a Larry Foster basket, Holmes’ Al Graham hit back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite an 11-3 run that gave the Bulldogs a 36-27 halftime advantage.
After surviving 12 first-half turnovers, the Lions cut a 13-point deficit with eight minutes remaining to four points by going on an 11-2 spurt. Freshman Terence Bennett’s three-point play and Darian Donald’s put-back basket sandwiched a Holmes turnover to pull EMCC to within four points (62-58) with 5:35 left in the game. The Lions had a chance to make it a one-possession game after Holmes’ Gabe Osagie missed a pair of free throws, but Foster misfired on a subsequent trey attempt. The Bulldogs’ Jonathan Ratliff countered with a three-point play to make it a seven-point contest (65-58) with 4:10 on the clock.
East Mississippi would not get any closer the rest of the way, as the Bulldogs pulled away for the 10-point triumph. Holmes will meet Mississippi Gulf Coast in Thursday’s 8 p.m. championship game of the NJCAA Region 23 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Finishing the season with a 17-11 overall record, head coach Mark White’s Lions were led by the Starkville tandem of Coco Ware and Woodie Howard with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Donald of Caledonia High School added a dozen points, while Foster scored all nine of his points in the first half and Bennett tallied all of his nine points in the second stanza.
Graham and Randy Lightfoot led the way for the Bulldogs with 13 points apiece, while Osagie and Clyde Moore added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 March 2009 )|
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