|EMCC posts key home divisional hoops sweep over Mississippi Delta|
SCOOBA – The East Mississippi basketball teams claimed a key home divisional sweep over Mississippi Delta Thursday evening on the Scooba campus, as the Lady Lions prevailed 68-58 in the opener followed by a 78-72 division-clinching win by the 11th-ranked Lions in the nightcap at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.
With the six-point men’s victory, head coach Mark White’s 20-3 Lions secured the school’s first MACJC North Division men’s basketball championship since the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges went to divisional play in 1970. Along with reaching 20 wins on the year and improving to 9-1 in division play with one week remaining in the regular season, the EMCC men earned the honor of hosting the upcoming MACJC State Basketball Tournament, set for Feb. 22-25 at Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.
In Thursday’s opener, head coach Sharon Thompson’s Lady Lions led the entire contest, opening up an early double-digit lead with a 15-5 run midway through the first half. After the EMCC women stretched a 37-23 halftime lead to 19 points (51-32) near the midway point of the second stanza, the Lady Trojans reeled off 12 unanswered points to cut the deficit to seven (51-44) with 7:36 remaining. Freshman guard Natalie Tate, of Columbus, ended a four-minute scoring drought for the home team with a driving lay-in off the glass. Three minutes later, a Tate 3-pointer bumped the margin back up to a dozen points (60-48).
However, the visiting Delta women made one last push by scoring seven straight points to make it a five-point contest (60-55) with 2:07 left. En route to a 14-point second half and 20 for the contest, Tate once again came through for the Lady Lions with a clutch three-point basket at the 1:48 mark to help secure the 10-point win and snap EMCC’s two-game losing skid.
In helping the 12-11 Lady Lions hold steady in fourth place within the North Division standings with a 6-4 league mark, sophomore forward Martika Hull led all scorers with 25 points, including 18 in the opening half. The reigning MACJC All-North State selection from Southeast Lauderdale also added nine rebounds and three steals.
Paced by 16 points apiece from Brittany Lakes and Camissa Jackson, the Lady Trojans fell to 10-9 overall and 7-3 in division play.
In Thursday’s nightcap, the Lions jumped out to a 19-3 advantage six minutes into the contest, but an 11-3 Mississippi Delta run midway through the half cut the margin to six points (30-24) with five minutes left until intermission. Owners of a 10-point (39-29) halftime lead, the EMCC men fought off a game Delta club, who trimmed the deficit to three points a couple of times early in the second stanza.
Despite having Donovan Walker and John Harris both foul out of the game within a minute of one another late in the contest, the Lions seemingly had things under control with a nine-point lead (74-65) with 1:46 remaining after Deonte Alexander’s teardrop bucket in the lane. Following a contested basket by Delta’s DeMario Calvin, Alexander’s ensuing turnover was converted into a 3-pointer by Falando Jones.
With EMCC’s lead cut to four points (74-70) with a minute left in the game, Alexander atoned himself for a second straight miscue by blocking Jarvis Moore’s shot attempt off the Delta player’s leg out of bounds to retain possession for the Lions. A freshman playmaker from Nashville, Alexander then answered with another floater in the lane on the other end with 24 seconds left. Following an empty possession by the visitors, sophomore guard Terence Bennett nailed a pair of free throws with just 10 ticks remaining to ice the victory.
Having nailed down the North Division’s No. 1 seed in the upcoming EMCC-hosted MACJC State Basketball Tournament, the Lions own a current six-game winning streak and have now won 12 of their last 13 decisions dating back to the beginning of December. Thursday’s six-point win over Delta avenged EMCC’s lone divisional setback of the year – a 64-61 loss to the Trojans in Moorhead on Jan. 18.
The EMCC men benefitted from balanced scoring in Thursday’s home win over Delta, as current NJCAA Division I Player of the Week CoCo Ware led the way with 17 points. The Starkville product remains 11 points shy of reaching the coveted 1,000-point mark for his two-year EMCC career. Bennett and Harris followed with 16 and 11 points, respectively, for the winners.
In dropping to 9-9 overall and 4-5 within the division, Mississippi Delta was led by Jestonia Kimber and Jones with 23 and 21 points, respectively.
The East Mississippi basketball teams will close out their regular-season home campaign by playing host to Holmes Monday night during “Sophomore Night” festivities on the Scooba campus. With game times set for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at EMCC’s Currie Coliseum, Lady Lion fans are asked to wear pink to the 5:30 p.m. women’s game Monday in support of the WBCA Pink Zone initiative to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.
|Last Updated ( Friday, 12 February 2010 )|
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