MOORHEAD – The Lady Lions of East Mississippi Community College extended their January winning streak to five consecutive games with a 61-52 road victory over Mississippi Delta Community College during Monday MACJC North Division basketball action played at J.T. Hall Coliseum. In the men's nightcap, EMCC couldn't dig out of a 19-point, second-half hole en route to dropping an 82-74 decision to the home-standing Trojans.
The Delta men came out gunning from long distance in the nightcap with seven made 3-pointers that opened a 14-point (35-21) advantage by the 6:40 mark of the opening half. Adding to their 41-30 halftime lead, the Trojans lengthened the margin to 19 points (49-30) following back-to-back treys from Xa'Vavier Jones during the opening minutes of the second stanza.
Almost single-handedly, freshman guard Cam Horton kept the Lions in the contest by igniting a 9-0 EMCC run to trim the deficit to 10 points (49-39) by the 14:40 mark. With 22 of his career-high 36 points coming after the break, Horton's second-half efforts helped pull the visitors to within five points on three different occasions midway through the half.
Inside of three minutes left to play, Horton's acrobatic finish at the rim and resulting bonus free throw made it a 71-67 contest with 2:31 remaining. After the two teams traded 1-of-2 efforts at the line, Delta took advantage of a missed 3-pointer by the Lions and converted with a Queshod Young jumper to put the Trojans on top, 74-68, with just over a minute left on the game clock.
EMCC continued to battle down the stretch by trimming the deficit to four points three different times during the closing moments of the contest. Delta was able to seal the victory by converting six consecutive free throws over the final minute of play and then added a basket at the buzzer to nail down the eight-point home triumph.
A repeat first-team all-state prep performer out of Jacksonville, Ala., Horton's 36 points came on 14-of-19 accuracy from the field, including 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range. New Hope High School product Terryonte Thomas followed with 14 points, though he struggled with 7-of-19 shooting on the night, as head coach Billy Begley's EMCC Lions fell to 8-7 overall and 1-3 within the division.
Following a sluggish start for both teams in the women's game, the visitors increased their five-point (12-7) lead after the first quarter to 27-18 heading into the halftime break. Sophomore transfer Jordanna Morris provided the spark by coming off the EMCC bench with six points, six rebounds and three assists during the opening 20 minutes of action.
After the Lady Trojans pulled to within six points (29-23) early in the second stanza, EMCC responded with 10 unanswered points to take a 16-point advantage by the 6:08 mark of the third quarter. At the start of the final period, Delta again cut the deficit to six points (44-38) before the Lady Lions doubled their lead with six straight points. The visitors then maintained control of the contest for the remaining 5:39 on the way to posting a fifth straight win while improving to 8-5 overall and 3-1 in division play.
Coach Sharon Thompson's EMCC women were led by Tyeisha Juhan's 21 points. The reigning NJCAA Division I and MACJC Women's Basketball Player of the Week also totaled nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. Morris, a product of Northwest Rankin High School, registered a double-double off the bench with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with her 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Columbus' Kayla Rogers contributed 11 points and six boards in the winning effort.
The East Mississippi basketball teams continue MACJC North Division road play by traveling to Fulton to take on the Indians of Itawamba Community College in a Thursday hoops twin bill. A 6 p.m. women's game will be followed by an 8 p.m. men's contest at ICC's Davis Event Center.