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January 21, 2013

East Central University drops pair to Southern Nazarene

BETHANY —      The East Central University men’s basketball team dropped a 83-68 decision to Southern Nazarene in Great American Conference action on Thursday.

     The Tigers (5-10, 2-7 GAC) were led by junior Colby Carr, who tallied a career-best 31 points and added nine rebounds. Carr is the first ECU player since Jan. 4, 2010, to score 30 points in a single game since Eric Allen scored 31 at Southwestern Christian. Junior Shaq Burrell added 12 points for the Tigers.

     “We started out the game strong,” said interim head coach Trey Hendon, who is filling in for suspended head coach Mac McConnell, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last week. “Then we got a little disarrayed by the pressure Southern Nazarene had. It was good to see the team fight back in the second half, but we just had some tough breaks down the stretch.”

     In the women’s contest, ECU saw a nine-game win streak snapped after a 70-63 loss to the Crimson Storm.

MEN

Southern Nazarene 83, East Central 68

     The first half was a back-and-forth battle for control of the scoreboard, with three ties and four lead changes. Both teams led by as many as eight through the half, with ECU’s lead coming with 8:37 remaining in the stanza. However, after that the Crimson Storm (9-6, 4-5 GAC) took over and used several runs to take a 34-42 advantage heading into the locker room.

     The teams again traded points in the opening two minutes of the second half, but SNU then went on a 10-0 run over a three-minute span. The Crimson Storm kept pushing the momentum and led by as many as 21 before the Tigers pushed back. With 12 minutes left to play, ECU held SNU to three points from the free-throw line and tallied 13 of their own to cut the lead to 11 (66-55) over the next six minutes.

     The Crimson Storm pushed the lead back to 15 with five minutes left, and ECU fought back to cut the lead to nine with just under four minutes remaining on the clock, but the Tigers would get no closer.

     Rebounding and shooting percentage was the key to the game, with the Crimson Storm earning advantages in both columns. SNU out-rebounded the Tigers 25-40 and then hit 52.6 percent of their shots while holding ECU to 39.7 percent.

WOMEN

Southern Nazarene 70, ECU 63

     The Lady Tigers (12-3, 7-2 GAC) were led by junior Ashley Robison, who garnered a season-best 15 points and added five rebounds. Sophomore Dilan Webster added 10 points and seven boards.

     “I thought Southern Nazarene outplayed us from start to finish,” said ECU head coach Kent Franz. “They played harder, smarter and were more aggressive. We didn’t hit the floor with the same urgency as we have been playing with, and that is my fault. It is my job to make sure they understand the urgency of each of the games that we play.”

     The Crimson Storm (8-7, 5-4 GAC) opened up the scoring in the first half with an 8-3 run in the first four minutes. The Lady Tigers went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to take a short 10-8 advantage, but SNU countered with a 7-0 run of its own to lead 11-15. The teams kept it close for the rest of the half, with each using runs to either gain or cut down on a lead, but it was a 7-0 run in the middle of the stanza that allowed the Crimson Storm to hold an advantage throughout the rest of the half. ECU went into the locker room trailing 32-37.

     The Lady Tigers started the second half strong, closing the gap with a 5-0 run in the first minute of the stanza. However, SNU followed with a 9-0 run on threes to take a 46-37 lead. The Crimson Storm added another 11-0 run until the middle of the stanza to push its lead out to 39-57.

     With just under 11 minutes left to play, senior Regan Browne scored the first five points of an ECU 13-2 run that cut the lead to seven (52-59), with 6:20 left to play. But that was as close as the Crimson Storm would allow the Lady Tigers to get, as they countered with a 6-2 run of their own over the next four minutes to regain a double-digit lead and go on to win 60-73.

     Rebounding became the key to the game, as both teams shot under 40 percent. The Crimson Storm earned a 35-48 advantage in the rebounding column. They also took better advantage of their 8-12 offensive rebounds lead by scoring 15 second-chance points to the Lady Tigers' two.

     Both ECU teams will return home to battle with arch-rival Southeastern Thursday night after having a week off from competition.

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