With a strong second-half performance, the visiting Lions of East Mississippi Community College resumed division play with a 76-62 road victory over Northeast Mississippi Community College Thursday evening at Bonner Arnold Coliseum. In the women’s game, the EMCC Lady Lions were held scoreless over the final five minutes of their contest in dropping a 54-42 decision to NEMCC’s Lady Tigers.
In their first MACJC North Division action since winning at Holmes back in November, head coach Mark White’s EMCC Lions got off to a fast start by racing to a 14-7 lead over Northeast four minutes into the contest. Despite Trey Brown’s 16 first-half points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, the home-standing Tigers gained control late in the half. NEMCC’s Acie Vance scored the Tigers’ last seven points of the opening period, including a shot at the buzzer, to stake the home team to a 40-35 halftime lead.
Coming out of the break, Northeast increased the margin to seven points and continued to maintain a five-point lead (53-48) with just over 11 minutes remaining in regulation. A 3-pointer by Lion freshman guard Mack Foster, the reigning MACJC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, ignited a 10-0 EMCC run that put the visitors back on top for the first time since midway through the opening half.
After Vance’s 3-pointer closed the gap to 60-58 with 7:25 remaining, EMCC’s defense took over and held the Tigers to just one made field goal and a pair of free throws the rest of the way. With a 41-22 advantage in the second half, the Lions outscored Northeast 28-9 over the game’s final 11 minutes.
Improving to 9-4 overall and 2-0 within the division, the Lions received 47 combined points from sophomore transfers Jarekious Bradley and Brown. Registering his second double-double in three games, Brown finished with a season-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, including 5-of-8 accuracy from three-point range. The Brandon native, by way of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Bradley, a transfer from Midland College in Texas, tallied 20 of his game-best 26 points following the intermission. The former Memphis East High School product also collected nine rebounds in the contest.
Falling to 6-6 overall and 1-2 in division play, the Northeast men were led by Vance’s 21 points. Markeevius Brown and Tadarious Coburn followed with a dozen points apiece.
In women’s action Thursday, head coach Sharon Thompson’s EMCC Lady Lions also battled back from a halftime deficit to take the lead late in the contest. However, continuing turnover problems and lingering inefficiency on offense kept the visitors off the scoreboard for the final five minutes of the game.
After trailing 25-17 at halftime and still down by eight points (36-28) midway through the second stanza, the EMCC women went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to grab their first lead of the game (37-36) on a Savannah Kimmons put-back basket at the 7:25 mark. Kimmons, along with fellow freshman Charmane Tims and sophomore Dajah McCarty combined to score all 25 of EMCC’s second-half points on collective 11-of-17 field-goal shooting.
Unfortunately, the visitors could not sustain the momentum and faded away down the stretch. Once they claimed the lead, the Lady Lions were victimized by eight turnovers over the final seven minutes of the contest. As a result, the EMCC women were not able to generate any additional offense during that game-ending stretch en route to the 12-point setback.
Now 2-11 overall and 0-2 within the division, EMCC’s Lady Lions were led by Tims’ 12 points, including 11 in the second half coming on 3-of-5 three-point shooting. Kimmons followed with nine points – six in the second half on 3-of-4 shooting – to go along with her game-high 12 rebounds. All eight of McCarty’s points, on 4-of-5 field goals, came after the break.
Improving to 6-6 overall and 2-1 in division play, the Northeast women were paced by LaTonya Gadison and Antionette Riddle with 17 and 12 points, respectively.
The East Mississippi basketball teams now return home to engage in a two-game home stand over the next four days on the Scooba campus. In a make-up twin bill from Monday’s postponement, the EMCC squads will entertain visiting Mississippi Delta Community College during a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. A 4 p.m. men’s contest will follow at EMCC’s Keyes T. Currie Coliseum. The Lions and Lady Lions will stay at home to welcome rival Itawamba Community College to the EMCC campus on Tuesday (Jan. 22) for a 5:30/7:30 p.m. hoops twin bill.
All EMCC basketball games throughout the 2012-13 season are slated to be video-streamed live on the school’s Ustream channel at www.ustream.tv/channel/emcc-basketball, which can be easily accessed through the school’s newly launched athletics website, www.EMCCAthletics.com.