Rebounding from a sluggish opening half of play, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College used a 20-6 run midway through the second half to claim a 72-58 victory over Mississippi Delta Community College during Wednesday’s quarterfinals of the NJCAA Region 23 Basketball Tournament being played at A.E. Wood Coliseum on the Mississippi College campus.
Now with a 10-game winning streak in regional postseason play as three-time reigning NJCAA Region 23 champions, head coach Mark White’s 18-7 EMCC Lions advance to meet third-seeded Baton Rouge Community College – an 82-81 first-round overtime winner over Southwest Mississippi - during Friday’s semifinals at 12:30 p.m. EMCC will be looking to avenge its pair of regular-season losses to BRCC, having dropped decisions to the Bears both in Scooba (79-76 in OT) and in Baton Rouge (70-62) back in November and December, respectively.
The Lions made it a clean sweep of Mississippi Delta on the year, but their third straight win over the Trojans this season did not come easy at all. The opening 20 minutes of play saw EMCC make only 8-of-27 field goals (30%), including just 1-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc. Mississippi Delta scored the last four points of the period to take a slim 31-28 lead at the intermission.
The contest remained tight for the first seven minutes of the second stanza, before the second-seeded Lions seemed to find their range from the field. Following the game’s ninth tie (40-40), Jacolby Mobley and Jarekious Bradley hit back-to-back baskets to ignite the game-changing run, including 10 unanswered EMCC points, which put the Trojans on their heels and the margin in double digits. Mobley and Bradley, who combined for 23 second-half points between them, also drilled consecutive 3-pointers within that critical six-minute stretch.
Hitting 16-of-34 (47%) from the field in the second half, including 4-of-8 from three-point range, the Lions outscored Mississippi Delta, 44-27, following intermission.
Despite struggling with 6-of-19 shooting from the field, Bradley led all scorers with 17 points, including 11 after the break. Mobley, from Starkville High School, tallied all 12 of his points in the second half. Micah Walker also had a dozen points for the four-time reigning MACJC North Division regular-season champions.
Closing out the year with an 11-14 overall record, the seventh-seeded Trojans of Mississippi Delta were paced by Anthony McDonald’s 16 points. Delta earned runner-up honors to host Pearl River Community College during last week’s MACJC State Basketball Tournament held in Poplarville.
All of EMCC’s regional basketball games this week in Clinton are scheduled to be video-streamed live in HD via the school’s Ustream channel, which can be easily accessed through EMCC’s athletic website, www.EMCCAthletics.com. With EMCC media director/athletic video coordinator Derek Cody handling play-by-play duties, the live radio broadcasts are also slated to be carried on WFCA FM 108 out of French Camp.