|East Mississippi claims pair of last-second, one-point basketball wins at Itawamba|
FULTON – In a classic basketball doubleheader featuring the top four teams in the MACJC’s North Division standings, visiting East Mississippi Community College claimed a pair of last-second, one-point wins over Itawamba Monday night at the Davis Event Center on the ICC campus. Following the Lady Lions’ thrilling 57-56 triumph over ICC, EMCC’s 11th-ranked Lions clinched their second straight divisional title with a 69-68 victory over the home-standing Indians.
In the opener, EMCC freshman guard Kiara Quinones-Noa calmly sank a pair of free throws with .8 seconds remaining to lift the Lady Lions to the one-point win and deny ICC an opportunity to clinch the MACJC North Division women’s title at home. With the last-second victory, the EMCC women, now 8-3 in league play, moved to within a half-game of first-place Itawamba atop the standings.
Capping a second half that featured seven lead changes and four ties, ICC’s Jameika Hoskins briefly put the home team on top, 56-55, with a pair of charity tosses coming after a steal just under the 1:00 mark. Following an alternate possession call that favored Itawamba, Vetorra Cole’s missed jumper was rebounded by the visitors and passed up the floor to Noa from fellow EMCC freshman Chadisty Hickman to set up the thrilling finish.
Now 13-8 overall, head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions were led by sophomores Kierra Jones and RoTasha Windom with a dozen points apiece. Noa finished with 10 points, including eight points coming after the halftime break. Leading EMCC’s commanding 37-21 rebounding advantage on the night, including a 15-4 bulge on the offensive boards, Windom and fellow sophomore Jamie Gunter paced the visitors with nine rebounds apiece.
The Lady Indians, now 16-5 overall and 8-2 within the division, were led by Hoskins and Anna Dill with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Itawamba will close out the regular season with league road outings against Holmes on Thursday and two days later at Mississippi Delta in a makeup contest.
In Monday’s nightcap, featuring a rematch of last year’s NJCAA Region 23 championship game won by EMCC, Itawamba’s Melvin Morgan went to the charity stripe with .3 seconds left in regulation with an opportunity to send the game into overtime. However, Morgan missed the first attempt in the waning seconds. He would make the second free throw, but the visiting Lions managed to escape with the narrow win – their seventh straight series victory over Itawamba dating back to the 2008-09 season.
Trailing by seven points (36-29) early in the second half, head coach Mark White’s EMCC Lions whittled away at the deficit. Following three lead changes and three ties midway through the closing period, the visitors turned the game in their favor with timely offensive rebounding and clutch shooting from sophomore guard Deonte Alexander.
A product of Nashville, Tenn., Alexander capped a 20-point effort with a 3-pointer that put the Lions ahead, 67-65, with less than a minute left in regulation. ICC’s Akeem Caddell answered immediately with a lay-in basket to knot the score at 67-all with 24.7 seconds remaining. Following timeouts by both teams, EMCC reserve guard Traddarius McPhearson just beat the shot-clock buzzer with a basket to put the visitors out front for good and spoil Itawamba’s “Sophomore Night” festivities.
EMCC sophomore forward Jonathan King registered his 10th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman point guard D.J. Evans followed with a dozen points for the winners, who improve to 19-3 overall and 10-1 atop the men’s MACJC North Division standings.
Itawamba, now 12-9 overall and 6-4 in division play, received a game-high 26 points from Morgan. Todd Nelson and Caddell followed with 17 and 12 points, respectively, for the Indians.
In advance of next week’s MACJC State Basketball Tournament (Feb. 21-24), East Mississippi’s scheduled regular-season home finale is set for Thursday against Coahoma Community College. Featuring ‘Sophomore Night’ pregame activities, tip-off times are set for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at EMCC’s Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 14 February 2011 )|
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