ARKADELPHIA, Ark. — For the fifth time in the 2017-18 season and the second time against Henderson State, the East Central University men’s basketball team broke the century mark during a 102-88 victory over the host Reddies Saturday inside the Duke Wells Center.
East Central improved to 13-8 overall and 11-6 in Great American Conference action and currently holds down the third spot in the GAC standings. Henderson State fell to 12-11 and 7-10.
The Tigers jumped on Henderson from the opening tip and got out to a 15-4 lead to begin the game. Camron Talley, Gabe McKenzie and Marcus Lytle each hit 3-point shots during that spurt.
Henderson State got within 26-19 at the 11:20 mark on a layup by Kaylon Tappin, but the Tigers followed with a 16-2 run. After two free throws by Tyler Armstrong with 5:53 left in the first half, ECU’s lead had ballooned to 42-21.
The Tigers led 57-35 by halftime.
Henderson would not go away in the second and cut into the lead little by little, eventually cutting the deficit down to as few as 13 points with 3:32 left to play on a rare four-point-play from Chris Parker.
HSU could get no closer.
East Central shot a blistering 35-of-59 (59.3 percent) from the floor and sank 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) from 3-point territory.
The Tigers had six of the eight players who played in the game reach double figures. McKenzie led the team for the second straight game. He tallied a career-high 24 points, with four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.
Lytle added 21 points and eight rebounds. Junior Da’Rion King netted 16 points, senior Tyler Armstrong had 14 and Talley and senior Jeremiah Fleming added 10 points each.
Josh Jones led the Reddies with 19 points and three blocks, while Parker chipped in 18 points and DJ Franklin had 17.
East Central travels to Bethany Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. post-Valentine’s Day date with Southern Nazarene University. The Tigers are at home at 3 p.m. Saturday, when Southwestern visits the Kerr Activities Center.