|EMCC falls 68-61 to Salt Lake in semis of Fiesta Bowl tourney; Lions to face host Mesa for 3rd place|
MESA, Ariz. – The Lions of East Mississippi Community College couldn’t overcome a 14-0 second-half run by Salt Lake (UT) Community College in dropping a 68-61 decision during Saturday’s semifinals of the fourth annual Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout being held at Theo Heap Gym on the campus of Mesa Community College.
Falling to 6-3 on the season, head coach Mark White’s EMCC Lions will meet host and defending tourney champion Mesa CC (10-3) in Sunday’s third-place contest. With tip-off set for 6 p.m. MT (7 p.m. CT), the EMCC-Mesa game is slated to be video-streamed live via www.emccathletics.com on the school’s Ustream channel at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/emcc-basketball.
After having never trailed in Friday’s 73-59 opening-round victory over 18th-ranked Central Arizona College, East Mississippi was put on the defensive early in Saturday’s semifinals by a pair of 9-0 runs and another 8-0 spurt by Salt Lake. To their credit, the Lions, with four early three-point baskets, withstood the Bruins’ first-half offensive bursts to trail by just a bucket at 31-29 heading into intermission.
The first five minutes of the second stanza featured four lead changes and three ties, before Salt Lake changed the complexion of the game by scoring 14 unanswered points to grab a 50-39 lead midway through the half. Again, EMCC fought back by going on a 9-1 run to cut the deficit to three points at 51-48 on a Jarekious Bradley turnaround baseline jumper with 7:30 remaining in regulation.
After the Bruins bumped the margin back up to seven points (56-49), A.J. Wade’s pair of successful charity tosses at the 4:16 mark pulled the Lions back to within three points (59-56). However, subsequent back-to-back baskets by Gary Payton II extended Salt Lake’s advantage to seven points once again with 3:15 left on the game clock.
Limited to just 35-percent (23-of-65 FGs) shooting on the night and out-rebounded by a 42-33 margin, EMCC couldn’t get any closer than five points the rest of the way in dropping the seven-point decision.
Bradley, the NJCAA’s scoring leader, once again led the Lions with 18 points, including 13 in the second half. Micah Walker followed with 16 points for EMCC.
Improving to 12-2 on the season, Salt Lake received a game-high 21 points from JuWan Buchanan on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. Skyler Halford scored all of his 16 points in the second half on the strength of 4-of-6 accuracy from beyond the three-point arc.
The SLCC Bruins advance to face San Bernardino Valley (CA) College (9-4) in Sunday’s championship contest. The Wolverines of SBVC knocked off host Mesa CC, 51-39, in Saturday’s semifinals to move to the title tilt.
In the tournament’s consolation bracket, second-ranked Howard College (12-1) will take on Eastern Utah (10-5) for the consolation crown. Central Arizona (10-3) will meet Williston (ND) State (11-5) in the tourney’s seventh-place contest.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 29 December 2012 )|
|< Prev||Next >|