|East Mississippi splits with Jones County in basketball season openers|
SCOOBA – The East Mississippi basketball teams split with the defending state champions of Jones County in season-opening action Monday evening at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus. The EMCC women dropped a 70-65 decision in the first contest, while the Lions claimed a 90-84 victory in the nightcap.
In the opener, head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions, rated 27th nationally in the preseason NJCAA rankings, were outscored 16-5 over the final 4:34 in falling at home to the Lady Bobcats. In a contest featuring a dozen ties, the EMCC women saw a six-point lead (60-54) dissipate down the stretch. Following a basket by former Kemper County High School standout RoTasha Windom with 4:34 remaining, the Lady Lions went without a made field goal over a four-minute span while also committing four costly turnovers during that stretch. In the meantime, Jones County took a six-point lead (69-63) at the 1:28 mark following a fake-and-drive basket by Sooby Cooks and two subsequent charity tosses by Tanecka Carey.
Sophomore Raona Stowers of Macon cut the deficit to 69-65 on a feed from former Noxubee County High School teammate Shanteria Tate with 10 seconds left. However, Cooks sealed the road victory by hitting 1-of-2 from the line with 6.7 ticks remaining for the final outcome.
With a dozen Lady Lion players getting into the scoring column, freshman guard Natalie Tate of Columbus High School led the way with 12 points and five assists. Shanteria Tate was the only other EMCC player in double digits with 11 points. Reigning MACJC All-North State forward Martika Hull of Meridian’s Southeast Lauderdale High School was held to just two points on 1-of-5 shooting and committed five turnovers. As a team, the Lady Lions were slowed by 29 miscues during their opener.
The visiting Lady Bobcats were led by Cooks and Erica Moore with 16 points apiece, followed by Ashley Lee’s dozen points.
In the nightcap, head coach Mark White’s Lions looked to be cruising to victory by extending their 17-point halftime lead (54-37) to 23 points (62-39) four minutes into the second stanza. Jones County steadily cut away at the deficit, eventually trimming the margin to six points (77-71) with 5:30 left on a Kadeem Fleming three-point basket and a pair of free throws by Todd McDonald. EMCC answered the initial comeback attempt by bumping the lead back up to double digits (82-71) following an inbounds basket by second-team preseason NJCAA All-American CoCo Ware and a three-point play from fellow sophomore guard Terence Bennett of Jackson.
Seemingly in control with a 10-point lead (88-78) and ball possession and with just two minutes remaining in the contest, the Lions fell victim to poor shot selection and costly turnovers down the stretch. The Bobcats took advantage of the temporary letdown by scoring six unanswered points during a stretch in which EMCC turned it over four straight times. The Lions’ 32nd turnover of the contest resulted in a dunk by Brandon Wilson to cut the deficit to 88-84 with 21.8 seconds left. The preseason second-team NJCAA All-American was also fouled on the play, but Wilson couldn’t make it a one-possession game by misfiring on the ensuing charity toss. EMCC’s Bennett capped an 11-point night, including 7-of-7 from the line, by securing the victory with two free throws with 15 ticks remaining in the game.
Ware, of Starkville, tied for game-scoring honors with 19 points to go along with six steals and five rebounds to lead five EMCC players in double figures. Fellow Starkville native Chris Brand followed with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting and a team-most eight rebounds, while former Meridian High School product Donovan Walker tallied 14 points and six boards in his collegiate debut. Nashville’s Anthony Alexander added 12 points and six assists for the winners.
Jones County was led by Fleming’s 19 points, followed by Kendrick McDonald and Wilson with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Tyrone Brinson was also in double digits with 14 points.
The East Mississippi basketball teams stay at home to play host to East Central Thursday evening on the Scooba campus. Women’s action is set to begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s contest at 7:30 p.m. at EMCC’s Currie Coliseum.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 November 2009 )|
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