LEBANON, Ill. — East Central used a balanced offense to east past host McKendree University 81-73 Saturday night.

The Tigers improved to 3-0 on the year, while the Bearcats fell to 1-2.

Camron Talley and Caleb Williams led a balanced attack for East Central with 15 points each. Josh Apple registered a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Tigers.

ECU led just 43-41 at halftime after falling behind 22-12 at the 12:17 mark of the opening frame.

The game was knotted at 56-56 before ECU went on a 16-8 spurt that put the Tigers ahead 72-64 with 5:11 left. A jumper by Caleb Williams put ECU on top 79-69 with 1:23 remaining.

The Tigers shot 59.1 percent from the field in the second half and outscored the Bearcats 38-32.

Oliver Stephen led McKendree with 18 points, knocking down six 3-point field goals.

Zac Neely added 12 points for the Tigers, while Tyler Arnold chipped in nine.

The Tigers now jump into the Great American Conference portion of their schedule at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with a trip to Weatherford to battle Southwestern.

West Texas A&M slips past ECU

CANYON, Texas – No. 12 West Texas A&M trailed by 11 points heading into the final quarter of play on Saturday night before rallying past East Central 62-60 inside the First United Bank Center.

East Central fell to 1-3, while the Lady Buffs improved to 4-2.

Madison Nicken’s jumper in the paint put ECU on top 60-59 with 25 seconds left in the game.

Sienna Lenz hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left to put the Lady Buffs up 62-61.

Madison Rehl missed a 3-pointer with time winding down for the Tigers, and Nathali Linden made a late free throw for the final point.

Lenz finished with 23 points to pace West Texas A&M, while Tiana Parker was a force on the defensive end of the floor with six rebounds to go along with seven blocks.

The Tigers had four players in double figures, as they were led by Maci Hanson and Sam Schwab with 11 points each Kendall Schulte led all players with seven rebounds to go along with eight points, while Nickens and Hannah Ladd added 10 points each in the loss.

West Texas A&M hit 22-of-30 free throws in the game, compared to 13-of-18 for ECU.

The Tigers return to action against Southwestern at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Weatherford.

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.

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