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Tigers tripped East Central's Denarius Darby (15) scored 10 points and had four steals during a tough 69-62 road loss to Abilene Christian Saturday night.

Photo courtesy Brian Johnson/ECU Sports Information

East Central University saw Abilene Christian shoot 53.7 percent from the floor while the Tigers converted just 35 percent of their attempts in dropping a 69-62 Lone Star Conference men’s crossover basketball decision Saturday at the Moody Coliseum.

ECU, 6-5 on the season, received 20 points from junior guard Caprest Rhone before fouling out and senior Denarius Darby added 10, but no other Tiger had more than seven points in the contest.

Desmond Woodberry topped the Wildcats with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. He also nailed 7-of-10 free throws, pulled down seven rebounds and finished with a pair of steals.

Giordan Cole followed with 12 points, seven boards and a pair of steals while Dosh Sims tossed in 10 points and snatched six boards for ACU, which improved to 5-3.

The Wildcats, who fired at a 52 percent pace from the field in the first half, fared even better in the second at 56.3. However, ECU stayed in the game by forcing 22 ACU turnovers as Darby recorded a game-leading four steals.

The Tigers committed six less turnovers at 15, but the Wildcats owned the boards by a 41-30 margin.

Preston Davis contributed nine points, four assists and a pair of steals for ACU and Marcus Washington ended up with eight points to go with seven rebounds.

For ECU, Rhone knocked down 8-of-17 shots, with a pair of 3-pointers, to go with two assists and one steal. Darby was only 2-of-12, but canned 5-of-6 free-throw tries.

Also for the Tigers, Eric Avant tossed in seven points, including one trey, to go with five boards and Darnell Davis also collected seven points to go with five rebounds and one assist.

ECU guard Eric Hardyway, playing in only his second game since becoming eligible, had a team-high three assists to go with his four points.

The Tigers fell into an early 6-0 hole, but eventually took a short-lived 19-18 lead off a Rhome 3-pointer via Hardyway assist with 7:48 remaining before halftime.

The Wildcats managed to take a 28-25 advantage at the break.

An Avant jumper at the start of the second half pulled ECU within 28-27, but the visitors were unable to get over the hump.

ACU went on to a pair of 13-point leads and had a 56-44 advantage with 5:30 to go. The Tigers twice cut the deficit to five in the final 1:13, the first off a Jamal Edwards 3-pointer to make it 63-58 and the second on two Edwards free shots with 49 seconds left.

But the Wildcats kept ECU at bay by connecting on 4-of-6 charity tosses the rest of the way while the Tigers scored only once off their three remaining possessions.

ECU wraps up its road trip on Monday with a visit to Angelo State for a 7:30 p.m. LSC crossover contest. That will be the final game before the Christmas break as the Tigers play at Southwestern Christian on Tuesday Jan. 4 in Bethany. ECU’s next home action will be on Jan. 6 against Eastern New Mexico in a conference crossover game, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Kerr Center.

Abilene Christian scorches nets, runs past Lady Tigers

ABILENE, Texas — Abilene Christian, behind 75 percent shooting from the floor in the first half and 55.7 for the game, rolled to a 92-64 over East Central University in Lone Star Conference women’s crossover basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the Moody Coliseum.

The Wildcats, 3-6 on the season, knocked down an amazing 24-of-32 field-goal tries in the first half, including 6-of-10 from 3-point territory in taking a commanding 59-33 advantage over the Lady Tigers in the opening half.

ECU, despite placing three players in double figures, shot just 34.9 percent for the game in falling to 4-5 on the year.

ACU also won the battle on the boards by a massive 45-29 margin.

The Wildcats’ Kelsey Smith, a 6-foot, 2-inch sophomore transfer from NCAA Division I Missouri State, registered a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Smith converted 9-of-11 shots from the floor, 4-of-6 from the line and also blocked four shots to lead ACU charge.

Mack Lankford followed 20 points, including a pair of treys, for the Wildcats, who captured their second straight victory after winning at Central Oklahoma in their last contest.

Senior guard Casi Rawls paced the Lady Tigers with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including two 3-pointers, and 2-of-2 free throws. She also finished with a team-leading three assists and a steal.

Another senior guard, Krista Bullis, followed with 12 points, including two treys, and sophomore guard Jourdan Clark ended up with 10 points, five boards and a team-high two steals before fouling out. She was saddled with three early fouls in the first five minutes of the contest.

ACU scored the first seven points of the game, led 12-1 at the 15:36 mark of the opening half and held a 27-point advantage (48-21) to go before the break.

ECU did cut into the deficit, 62-43, with a 7-0 run, keyed by two Clark free shots, a Kelcie Nunley 3-pointer and a layup by Indhira Ramirez with 15:43 remaining in the contest.

But the Wildcats scored the next six points in the midst of a 13-3 run over the next three minutes to keep the Lady Tigers at a huge disadvantage.

Senior Laura Harris added seven points, including one 3-pointer, and 4-of-4 free throws for ECU.

Also reaching double figures for the Wildcats were Danielle Hartley with 13 points and Autumn Whitaker with 11. Hartley was 3-of-5 from 3-point range and Whitaker finished with a game-leading five assists and three steals.

The Lady Tigers had one less turnover than the hosts (21-20), but was whistled for eight more fouls (23-15).

ECU will try to get back on the winning track Monday by visiting Angelo State for another LSC crossover contest at 5:30 p.m. to conclude its road trip in San Angelo, Texas.

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