|No. 7 EMCC tops East Central to set up rematch of 2010 state title game against PRCC in semis|
WESSON – Guards D.J. Evans and Deonte Alexander combined for 43 points to help lead seventh-ranked and No. 1 North seed East Mississippi Community College to an 81-64 opening-round men’s victory over No. 4 South seed East Central Tuesday evening at the MACJC State Basketball Tournament being held at Mullen Gymnasium on the Copiah-Lincoln campus.
EMCC’s 17-point win over East Central, coupled with 15th-ranked Pearl River’s 92-83 overtime triumph over Northeast Mississippi, sets up a rematch of last year’s state championship game in Wednesday’s semifinals. A year ago in Scooba, the Wildcats claimed a 61-58 win over the host EMCC Lions in the 2010 state title contest.
In Tuesday’s first-round meeting with East Central, EMCC rebounded from an early 15-8 deficit by scoring the last dozen points of the opening period over the final 2:35 to take a 40-31 halftime advantage. The Warriors managed to cut the deficit to five points (53-48) with six unanswered points midway through the half, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Alexander and Evans helped re-establish momentum for the Lions.
As a team, EMCC hit 11-of-24 shots from beyond three-point range on the night to come within one trey of the team’s season-high total of 12 made 3-pointers in a 94-74 win at Meridian back on Nov. 11. Individually, Alexander, a sophomore from Nashville, Tenn., nailed 7-of-14 treys for his 21 points, including red-hot 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc in the second half.
Evans, a freshman playmaker from Brandon High School, tallied 15 of his game-high 22 points after the intermission. Coming off the EMCC bench, freshman Traddarius McPhearson, a Raymond High School product, added a season-high 14 points for the winners along with three assists, three rebounds and five steals.
Falling to 13-11 on the year, East Central was led by Kenneth Barlow’s 16 points. Curtis Loving added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors.
Jumping from No. 13 to seventh nationally in this week’s NJCAA poll, head coach Mark White’s EMCC Lions improved to 21-3 overall on the year. The reigning NJCAA Region 23 champions and two-time defending MACJC North Division champions are now a combined 48-10 over the past two seasons.
With the EMCC-PRCC men’s game set for 7:45 p.m., Wednesday’s other men’s semifinal-round contest will pit South No. 1 seed Mississippi Gulf Coast with No. 2 North seed Mississippi Delta at 2:45 p.m. The women’s semifinals on Wednesday will feature a South Division battle between fourth-seeded Mississippi Gulf Coast and defending state champion Jones County, seeded second, at 1 p.m., followed by eighth-ranked and host Copiah-Lincoln versus No. 2 North seed Itawamba at 6 p.m.
Results and images from Wednesday’s semifinal-round games as well as Thursday’s state championship contests will be available at www.jucoweekly.com.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 February 2011 )|
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