SCOOBA – Battling for possible postseason berths in the upcoming MACJC State Basketball Tournament, East Mississippi Community College erased second-half deficits in both the men's and women's contests to sweep visiting Mississippi Delta Community College during Thursday night MACJC North Division hoops action played at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum. The EMCC women rebounded from a slow start to prevail, 53-41, while the Lions climbed out of a 14-point hole with seven minutes left to claim a dramatic 70-65 victory over the Trojans in the men's nightcap.
During the entertaining men's contest, the Trojans took initial control of the nightcap by scoring 17 unanswered points to jump out to a 16-point lead (31-15) with just under three minutes remaining in the first half. The Lions were able to trim the deficit to 11 points (33-22) by the halftime break, but Delta continued to maintain a double-digit advantage well into the second stanza.
With the visitors still up by 14 points (58-44) following Queshod Young's 3-pointer and a basket by James Jones with seven minutes left in regulation, EMCC began chipping away at the lead with eight straight points on a Terryonte Thomas pull-up jumper and consecutive treys by Keith Harris and Markedric Bell.
Three minutes later, Harris bombed in another 3-pointer to pull the Lions to within four points (62-58) with 2:39 left on the game clock. Following a Dewayne Cox put-back basket, Harris then came up with his first of two clutch steals down the stretch. The first theft led to a Thomas triple that put EMCC in front (63-62) for the first time since midway through the first half.
The Trojans answered by converting an EMCC turnover into a three-point play by Terrell Jennings to reclaim a two-point lead with a minute left. After Thomas hit one of two free throws with 52 seconds remaining, Harris came up huge again with another steal that he converted on the other end to put the Lions back on top (66-65) with 21.4 ticks left in the game.
The two teams then traded turnovers during the waning seconds before Thomas rebounded a missed Delta shot and connected on both charity tosses to make it a three-point contest with only 1.9 seconds on the clock. The Lions added another basket at the buzzer to complete the 26-7 EMCC run over the game's final seven minutes.
With four players scoring in double figures, head coach Billy Begley's Lions improved to 11-10 overall and 4-6 in division play. Thomas, a New Hope High School product, led the way by recording his first collegiate double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Harris and Bell, out of Starkville, followed with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while Ripley's Cox added 11 points off the bench for the winners.
Delta was led by Xa'Vavier Jones with 17 points. Young and Jennings had 10 and nine points, respectively, for the Trojans.
Following a sluggish start by both teams in the women's game, the Lady Lions used a 9-2 run to close out the first half and turn a five-point deficit (18-13) into a slim 22-20 halftime lead. The Lady Trojans owned a 12-8 edge at the end of the opening quarter.
The visitors scored the first six points of the second stanza and later held a 32-27 advantage before EMCC scored the last eight points of the third quarter to take a 35-32 lead into the final period. Sparked by the play of sophomore transfer Jordanna Morris, the Lady Lions continued their run of 15 unanswered points into the fourth quarter and extended the margin to double digits (42-32) with 8:30 remaining in the contest.
The Delta women managed to cut the EMCC lead in half with five straight points, but reigning all-state guard Tyeisha Juhan responded with a coast-to-coast basket and a three-point play to regain control for the Lady Lions. The nation's No. 4 scorer then drilled a 3-pointer with three minutes left to help secure the 12-point outcome.
Led by Juhan and Morris with 21 and 14 points, respectively, head coach Sharon Thompson's Lady Lions improved to 11-8 overall and 6-4 within the division. Morris, a transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast, also pulled down a season-high 11 rebounds to register her third double-double of the season to go along with her five steals, three assists and one blocked shot.
The Lady Trojans were led by Alexis Augustus' 19 points. Patrisha Lollis added 10 points for the visitors.
The East Mississippi basketball teams will tip off the final week of the regular season by playing host to the Indians of Itawamba Community College on Monday during Sophomore Night activities on the Scooba campus. A 5:30 p.m. women's game will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. men's contest at EMCC's Currie Coliseum.