|East Mississippi claims important home hoops sweep over Itawamba|
The Lady Lions opened the night with a 68-57 victory over ICC, while the EMCC men followed suit in the nightcap with a hard-fought 54-51 triumph over the Indians.SCOOBA – The East Mississippi basketball teams successfully resumed divisional play by sweeping visiting Itawamba Monday night at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.
Following seven ties during the opening 12 minutes of play in a contest pitting last year’s co-regular-season champs of the MACJC’s North Division, head coach Sharon Thompson’s Lady Lions broke open a tight contest by scoring nine unanswered points during the latter part of the opening half. With freshman guard Natalie Tate leading the way with 16 first-half points, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, EMCC maintained a 38-28 halftime advantage.
The visiting Lady Indians fought back to cut the deficit to five points on three different occasions during the opening six minutes of the second stanza, but EMCC had an answer each time. A fast-break basket by sophomore Martika Hull midway through the half put the home team back up by double figures (53-43). Itawamba never really seriously challenged from that point on, though a three-point basket by ICC’s Mandy Collins with 1:08 remaining trimmed the margin to eight points (64-56).
The Lady Lions, now 8-6 overall and 2-1 in divisional play, were led by Tate and Hull with 22 and 14 points, respectively. A reigning MACJC All-North State selection by way of Meridian’s Southeast Lauderdale High School, Hull added a career-high 15 rebounds to record her fourth double-double of the season. Freshman forward Nashedra Barry, Tate’s former prep teammate from Columbus High School, was also in double digits for the winners with a dozen points on 6-of-9 shooting.
In falling to 9-6 overall on the year with their first divisional loss in three tries, the Lady Indians were led by Lori Crudup’s 14 points and five assists. Collins and Birdie Bowens followed with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
In the nightcap featuring two teams ranked among the nation’s leaders in scoring defense, EMCC and ICC battled through seven first-half deadlocks before the home team held a slight 24-23 halftime edge. Head coach Mark White’s Lions used a 9-3 run to start the second half and open up a seven-point lead (33-26) five minutes into the period.
Itawamba, the reigning MACJC North Division men’s champions, answered with an 11-3 run over the next five minutes to take its first lead (37-36) since late in the first half with 9:43 remaining in the contest. Five more ties over the following eight minutes of play set up a dramatic final minute of action.
After misfiring on his previous eight three-point attempts in the contest, EMCC freshman guard Anthony Alexander drained a 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining to give the Lions a 53-50 lead. Following an ICC miss and an East Mississippi miscue, Itawamba’s Jeremy Word hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it a 53-51 contest with 20 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, sophomore guard CoCo Ware, the Lions’ Preseason NJCAA All-American, had a chance to all but ice the contest at the charity stripe with just under eight ticks remaining. The Starkville product missed the second free throw, but Word’s potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer did not connect.
With eight second-half points, Ware topped the Lions with a dozen points for the contest. Alexander followed with 10, while Starkville’s John Harris and freshman Marino Thompson added nine and eight points, respectively, in the winning effort.
Led by Wesley McIntosh’s 12 points, Itawamba dropped to 9-5 overall and 2-1 in divisional play with the loss. Word and Vincenzo Nelson also scored in twin digits with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Now 13-2 overall with a five-game winning streak and in first place in the MACJC’s North Division standings at 3-0, the EMCC men’s team stays at home to play host to Bevill State Wednesday evening in a 7 p.m. contest at Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus. The Lady Lions hit the road to take on Northwest-Shoals Saturday afternoon in Muscle Shoals, Ala., before both East Mississippi squads return to divisional action by playing at Mississippi Delta next Monday (Jan. 18) in Moorhead
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 January 2010 )|
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