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.