Durant — In a game that saw seven tie scores and 11 lead changes, the East Central University men’s basketball team claimed a 64-59 win over arch rival Southeastern Oklahoma State Wednesday night at Boomer Sullivan Arena.
It was ECU’s first road win over Southeastern since the 2010-11 season.
“It’s good to get a win. It was a hard-fought game and we knew it would be. It was two teams that were getting after it that really wanted to win. I’m awfully, awfully proud of our guys — the way they were able to make plays in the last four minutes in particular,” said ECU men’s coach Ja Havens.
With the Tigers clinging to a 59-57 lead, redshirt freshman A.J. Moutry hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock was winding town to put ECU ahead 62-57.
Two free throws from Chris Fisher with 20 seconds left helped seal the victory for ECU.
“We got some key stops and forced some turnovers. A.J. Moutry makes a couple of big shots, one late in the shot clock that was just a dagger,” Havens said.
The Tigers (10-6, 7-3 GAC) balanced scoring attack led by senior Colby Carr, who tallied 13 points and added eight rebounds. Moutry tallied 12 points and junior Brandon Lucas contributed 11.
“I talk to our guys afterwards about that being a true team win. We had contributions from everybody that game into the game,” Haven said.
The first half went back and forth with both teams trading baskets and leads for the first three minutes. After ECU was leading 7-6, with 16:55 left to play, the Savage Storm (4-10, 2-7 GAC) slowly built a five-point lead and held the advantage between two-five points for the next 15 minutes.
With 3:40 left on the clock in the first stanza, the Tigers started a come-back and used an 8-0 run to take a 33-30 advantage with a minute left to play. Southeastern tied the game at 33, with 36 seconds remaining, and the teams went to the locker room knotted at 33.
The second half was a continuation of the first with four ties in the first 10 minutes. However a triple by Moutry, with10:07 left to play, gave the Tigers their first four-point lead. The game was again tied at 51 and again ECU used a 4-0 run to lead 54-51. Neither team scored over the next two minutes, with Southeastern the first to break the slump and get within one (54-53).
East Central scored the next five points, but the hosts followed with four straight to set up the exciting finish.
The teams were evenly matched shooting, with both recording a 39.6 overall shooting percentage. The Tigers earned the key advantage of the game at the free-throw line, where they went 15-of-23 compared to a 10-of-22 showing for the Savage Storm.
The victory placed the Tigers second in the GAC standings behind only Southwestern (10-4, 7-1).
“We’re still a work in progress. We can get better. We have not reached our ceiling,” Havens said. “We’re going to continue to work and continue to improve and if we do that I think we have a chance to be in the mix coming down the stretch.”
The Tigers will now return home for a Saturday matchup with Harding (9-6, 6-3) at the Kerr Activities Center. Game time is set for 4 p.m.
Note: Ada News sports editor Jeff Cali contributed to this report.
Southeastern pulls away
from Lady Tigers
DURANT – The East Central University women’s basketball team dropped a 78-68 decision to arch rival Southeastern Oklahoma State Wednesday night at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Great American Conference action.
The Lady Tigers (10-6, 5-5 GAC) were led by senior Alex Tucker, who tallied a career-high 15 points and added two assists. Junior Dilan Webster ended the game with 14 points and six rebounds, while senior Alycea Price contributed 10 points and five boards.
The first half started out strong for ECU, which went on an 11-0 run in the first 5:30. The Savage Storm (9-6, 6-3 GAC) countered with a 7-0 run and kept pushing the tempo. Despite a few small runs by the Lady Tigers in the middle of the stanza, Southeastern came back to take a lead before the end of the half. With 7:39 left, ECU was held to just three points, while Southeastern tallied 22 to take a 37-29 lead into the locker room.
The teams traded points to start the second half before a 4-0 run by ECU cut the deficit to four (43-39).
The Lady Tigers kept the deficit between four and seven points for the next three minutes before a 7-0 run by Southeastern pushed the lead back to 10. ECU followed with a 5-0 run over the next minute to regain the four-point deficit.
The Lady Tigers kept fighting and were able to pull within one (68-67), with 2:52 remaining on an 8-4 run. However, the Savage Storm then used a 10-1 run over the final minutes to earn the win.
The key to the game was 3-point shooting, where Southeastern went 10-of-20 (50%), while ECU was 8-of-25 (32%). Southeastern also took a 16-of-20 to 4-of-9 advantage at the charity stripe.
The Lady Tigers will return home to face No. 6 Harding (17-0, 9-0), Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Kerr Activities Center.