|No. 7 EMCC men fall 61-52 to Pearl River in semifinals of MACJC State Basketball Tournament|
WESSON – In a rematch of last year’s state championship game, the seventh-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College dropped a 61-52 decision to 15th-ranked Pearl River in Wednesday’s semifinals of the 2011 MACJC State Basketball Tournament being held at Mullen Gymnasium on the Copiah-Lincoln campus.
Last year in Scooba, the PRCC Wildcats claimed a 61-58 victory over home-standing East Mississippi in the championship game of the 2010 MACJC State Tournament played at EMCC’s Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.
In Wednesday’s rematch on the Co-Lin campus, Pearl River, seeded second in the MACJC’s South Division, scored the final six points of the opening half to take a 29-23 halftime advantage. After the Lions had trimmed the deficit to five points (41-36) on a Deonte Alexander 3-pointer with 11:40 remaining in the contest, the Wildcats answered with six straight points to stretch the margin to double digits (47-36) by the 9:15 mark.
Head coach Mark White’s top-seeded EMCC Lions, repeat champions of the MACJC’s North Division, made one final push to change the game’s momentum by again trimming PRCC’s lead to five points (49-44) with 4:40 left in the game. However, the Wildcats’ Daron Bell broke free on an inbounds play to drill one of his five 3-pointers on the night and all but stymie the Lions’ chances of a possible comeback attempt.
Dropping to 21-4 on the season after their lowest scoring output of the year, the Lions were led in scoring by freshman point guard D.J. Evans, of Brandon, with 13 points. Sophomore forward Jonathan King registered his 11th double-double of the season with a dozen points and 15 rebounds, while Alexander added 10 points.
Improving to 21-4 for the year, Pearl River had four players scoring in double figures on the night. Bell finished with a game-high 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. The productive post tandem of Kentari Nettles and Phillip Crawford followed with 15 and 13 points, respectively, while Emil Jones totaled 11 points, 11 boards and six assists for the winners.
Thursday’s state championship contests in Wesson will pit the eighth-ranked and host Copiah-Lincoln Lady Wolves with the two-time defending state champion Lady Bobcats of Jones County in the women’s title tilt, followed by MACJC South Division foes Pearl River and Mississippi Gulf Coast in the men’s championship.
Both East Mississippi basketball teams have qualified for next week’s NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Mississippi College in Clinton, with tournament pairings set to be announced on Friday. Men’s tournament action will begin on Monday at MC’s A.E. Wood Coliseum, while women’s play is set to start on Tuesday.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 February 2011 )|
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