|No. 14 EMCC Lions claim 83-61 win at Itawamba; Lady Lions fall|
FULTON – The 14th-ranked East Mississippi Lions moved another step closer to clinching a school-first men’s MACJC North Division basketball title by posting a convincing 83-61 road win over Itawamba Thursday night at the Davis Event Center. In the opener, the ICC women claimed a hard-fought 57-53 victory over the visiting EMCC Lady Lions.
In registering their 11th victory in the last dozen outings, head coach Mark White’s Lions raised their overall record to 19-3, including a division-best 8-1 league mark. With a three-game lead and three division games remaining, EMCC needs one more league victory to reach the 20-win mark on the year and secure the first-ever North Division regular-season championship for the school’s men’s basketball program since the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges went to divisional play in 1970.
Coupled with their 54-51 home triumph over Itawamba last month in Scooba, the Lions notched their second straight season series sweep over the Indians. Ranked among the national leaders in team scoring defense, the EMCC men own an impressive +20 points-per-game scoring margin over their opposition dating back to December.
In Thursday’s nightcap, the EMCC men scored the game’s first 10 points and stretched their advantage to 18 points (33-15) with seven minutes remaining in the opening half. The Lions’ 43-32 halftime lead was trimmed to five points (47-42) seven minutes into the second half, but the Lions’ backcourt tandem of CoCo Ware and Deonte Alexander proved to be too much for the home-standing Indians down the stretch.
Alexander, a freshman playmaker from Nashville, and Ware, a preseason NJCAA All-American, tallied 26 and 25 points, respectively, in making six 3-pointers apiece on the night. Entering the contest averaging 23 points over his last 11 games, Ware moved closer to the coveted 1,000-point mark and now has 972 career collegiate points to his credit. Freshman Donovan Walker, of Meridian, added 11 points for the winners.
Falling to 13-8 overall and 5-4 in division play, Itawamba was led by Wesley McIntosh’s 17 points.
In Thursday’s opener, the Itawamba women battled through 10 lead changes and seven ties to finally put away a stubborn EMCC club with six unanswered points during crunch time. After Martika Hull gave the visitors a short-lived 51-49 lead with 2:36 left, the Lady Indians connected on three straight baskets to account for their four-point victory.
Hull, a reigning MACJC All-North State standout, finished with a team-high 12 points, followed by Natalie Tate’s 10 points for head coach Sharon Thompson’s 11-10 Lady Lions. The EMCC women fall to 5-4 in division action.
Improving to 15-7 overall and 7-2 in league play, the ICC women were paced by Lori Crudup’s game-high 22 points, including 14 first-half points that helped stake the Lady Indians to a 29-24 halftime advantage.
The EMCC women will step out of division play by playing host to Wallace State-Hanceville Saturday afternoon on the Scooba campus. Tip-off at EMCC’s Keyes T. Currie Coliseum is set for 2 p.m. The East Mississippi basketball teams resume North Division competition next Thursday (Feb. 11) by welcoming Mississippi Delta to the Scooba campus. Doubleheader action will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Currie Coliseum.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 05 February 2010 )|
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