Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. —
In their first Great American Conference road trip of the 2013-14 season, the East Central University men’s basketball team earned two wins after claiming a 94-78 win over Arkansas Tech Saturday at the Tucker Center.
The Tigers (4-4, 3-1 GAC) had four players record double-digit point totals, with junior Brandon Lucas leading ECU with 27 points and eight rebounds. Redshirt freshman A.J. Moutry added 18 points, senior Colby Carr 15 and junior Jefferson Ocoro 10.
“We stepped up and made free throws when we needed them tonight,” said head coach Ja Havens. “I give Arkansas Tech credit for playing all the way through the game. I am also proud of my guys for continuing to improve.”
The Wonder Boys (5-3, 1-1 GAC) opened the first stanza with an 8-0 run in the first four minutes. ATU was up 16-6, with 11:56 left to play, when ECU started to push the momentum of the game and used a 24-7 run until 2:45 remained in the half. The Tigers defense was strong during the span, holding the Wonder Boys without a field goal, and it gave ECU a 30-23 lead.
The Tigers continued to push the tempo through the end of the first stanza, going into the locker room with a 38-28 lead. ECU’s momentum in the first half was sparked by Lucas, who tallied 16 points, including four three-pointers in the opening half.
The Tigers built the lead out to 17 (54-37), with 14:13 left in the second half. The Wonder Boys were not done fighting and used a 5-0 run over a minute span to cut the deficit to 12 (56-44). However, ECU responded with a 5-0 run of its own over the next three minutes.
The teams battled through the next six minutes of the game, with the Tigers holding on to a 19-15 point advantage. ECU then pulled ahead by 20 when Moutry hit his fourth triple of the game, with 3:40 remaining on the clock.
ATU never quit fighting and, despite being forced to foul in the final minutes, the team used a 19-15 run to cut the deficit to 10 before falling 94-78.
The Tigers had a strong overall day, shooting 45.1 (23-of-51) percent from the floor, 39.1 (9-of-23) from beyond the arc and 70.9 (39-of-55) from the charity stripe. ECU’s defense held ATU to 41.8 (23-of-55) percent overall, 21.7 (5-of-23) percent from three-point range and 61.4 (27-of-44) percent from the free-throw line.
Free throws became the story in the second half, with both teams combining for a whopping 99 free throws in the game. ECU finished 39-of-55 from the stripe, while Arkansas Tech went 27-of-44.
Willie Rogers erupted for a game-high 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead the Wonder Boys.
The Tigers will next head to Rogers State for a non-conference game after having a week off for finals. ECU will face the Hillcats at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Arkansas Tech 88, ECU 61
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — The East Central University women’s basketball team dropped an 88-61 decision at Arkansas Tech in Great American Conference action Saturday at the Tucker Center.
The Lady Tigers (5-3, 1-3 GAC) were led by junior Dilan Webster, who tallied 15 points and five rebounds. Senior Alycea Price scored 12 points in the second half and added a team-high eight boards.
The first half started out as a close battle, with ECU holding an 8-7 lead with 15:28 to play. However, that is when the Golden Suns (5-1, 2-0 GAC) went on an 8-1 run over the next three minutes to take the lead.
The Lady Tigers scored the next four points, but then with just over 11 minutes left to play, the ATU defense picked up and held ECU without a field goal for the next eight minutes. During the span the Golden Suns tallied 17 points, despite being held scoreless for five minutes themselves. The run allowed ATU to head into the locker room with an 36-18 advantage.
ECU hit the first two shots of the second half and kept the game close for the first two minutes. However, the Golden Suns then used a 14-0 run to regain control of the tempo of the game. ATU increased its lead to as many as 32 on the way to the victory.
Ball control and first-half shooting percentages were keys to the game. The Lady Tigers committed 21 turnovers, while the Golden Suns committed 15. ATU also had a strong first half shooting, hitting 50 (12-of-24) percent of their shots, while ECU was held to a 26.7 (8-of-30) percentage from the field.
The Lady Tigers rebounded in the second half, making 50 (14-of-28) percent of their shots, but the Golden Suns also improved, with a 56.3 (18-of-32) percentage.
Cara Neighbors scored 19 points to lead a group of vie Golden Suns' players in double figures.
ECU will now have a week off before returning to the court for a Saturday matchup at Midwestern State. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m., and the game will wrap up a four-game road trip for the Lady Tigers.