Tigers finish up exhibition games

Jaime Guzman/LC-Sun NewsNew Mexico State’s Jemerrio Jones (10) tries to dribble through an East Central double team during an exhibition contest last Friday at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Tigers open their 2017-18 season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, hosting Arkansas Tech University inside the Kerr Activities Center.

Jaime A Guzman Las Cruces NM

After two more exhibition contests against NCAA Division 1 teams, the East Central men’s basketball team is preparing for its regular-season opener Thursday, when Arkansas Tech visits the Kerr Activities Center for an early Great American Conference showdown.

The Tigers dropped an 81-55 decision to New Mexico State on Friday at the Pan American Center and fell to Texas-San Antonio 92-59 Sunday inside the Convocation Center.

NM State 81, ECU 55

The Tigers actually led 21-18 at the 3:20 mark of the first half. But the host Aggies went on a 13-4 run and headed into the locker room with a 31-25 lead.

ECU had opened the game on a 12-6 run.

The Tigers’ limited NMSU to 1-of-16 shooting from 3-point range in the first half and 13-of-40 (32.5 percent) overall. ECU hit 4-of-13 from long range and 10-of-26 overall.

NM State started the second half with a 9-0 run before a bucket by ECU’s Da’Rion scored the first Tiger bucket at the 17:14 mark. At that point, the locals trailed 40-27.

East Central got within 11 at 46-35 after a jumper by Jamey Woods at the 15:29 mark. The Tigers would get no closer as the Aggies began to pull away after that.

Woods led the Tiger attack, finishing with a team-high 14 points, including four 3-point baskets. Camron Talley followed with nine points, while King finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

Zach Lofton went 8-of-12 from the floor and scored a game-high 25 points for the Aggies, while Jemerrio Jones finished with a double-double that included 19 points and 19 rebounds. He helped NMSU win the battle of the boards by a 59-30 margin.

Ohio State transfer AJ Harris finished with 12 points and six assists for the hosts.

USTA 92, ECU 59

ECU’s Gabe McKenzie hit an early 3-pointer that put ECU ahead 8-5. The Roadrunners used a 19-4 run, capped by a basketball from long range by Keaton Wallace to grab a 24-12 lead at the 10:05 mark of the first half.

A 17-6 USTA run to end the first half made it 45-26 at intermission.

The Roadrunners ran away from ECU by outscoring the visitors 47-33 in the second half.

Da’Rion King hit 11-of-14 free throws and scored 15 points to lead the ECU offense. He also added eight rebounds.

Jeremiah Fleming added nine points (on the strength of three 3-pointers) off the bench, while Brett Cannon finished with seven points, four assists and nine rebounds.

Wallace hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 points to lead the Roadrunners, while Jhivvan Jackson and George Wilborn III both added 14 points each off the bench.

Texas-San Antonio out-rebounded ECU 51-29 and forced the Tigers into 19 turnovers.

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Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.