SCOOBA – The East Mississippi Community College Lions prevailed in their MACJC North Division home basketball openers by sweeping Coahoma Community College Thursday night at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum. The EMCC women posted a convincing 90-63 victory, while the Lions completed the sweep by pulling out an 83-79 win in the men's nightcap.
In the women's contest, EMCC's Tyeisha Juhan followed her career-high, 35-point effort in Tuesday's win at East Central with 16 first-half points against Coahoma to stake the home team to a 50-33 halftime advantage. The Lions ran off a dozen unanswered points during a second-quarter stretch that turned a tight three-point contest into a double-digit advantage that would hold up for the remainder of the game.
The Lady Tigers managed to cut the deficit to 14 points (72-58) early in the final period after scoring eight of the quarter's first 10 points. EMCC promptly responded with an 8-0 run to pull away en route to the decisive 27-point triumph.
In moving above the .500 mark for the year at 6-5 overall while also evening their division record at 1-1, head coach Sharon Thompson's EMCC Lions had four players score in double figures on the night. Juhan, a reigning All-Region 23 backcourt performer from Jonesboro, Georgia, finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds to register her third double-double of the season and eighth of her collegiate career.
Freshman Brianna Page, out of West Jones High School, followed with 19 points, while Coahoma transfer Kayla Rogers, from Columbus, recorded her second double-double of the year with a dozen points and 11 boards. Mississippi Gulf Coast transfer Jordanna Morris added 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field in the winning effort.
Dropping to 2-10 overall and 0-2 in division play, the Coahoma women were led by Walneika Holmes' game-high 28 points. Nikkeria Harris followed with 11 points for the visitors.
The closely contested men's nightcap featured nine ties and 17 lead changes before the home-standing Lions scored the game's last seven points over the final minute of play to secure the hard-earned triumph.
After 11 lead changes during a back-and-forth first half, the Lions gained a little breathing room when freshman Dewayne Cox drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give them a 45-40 halftime advantage. With 13 first-half points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, Cox and fellow freshman Terryonte Thomas combined for 23 of EMCC's 45 points through 20 minutes of action.
The Lions seemed to be taking control of the contest early in the second half when Darrious Agnew's three-point play sparked a 14-0 run that turned a two-point deficit into a 62-50 EMCC lead with 14:25 remaining in the game. Midway through the second stanza, however, a three-point play by Coahoma's Courtney Stovall began a streak of 10 unanswered points from the visitors to knot the score at 69-all with 7:38 left.
Following another tie and three more successive lead changes over the next six minutes, the Tigers reclaimed the lead at 79-76 on DeQuan Morris' tip-in basket at the 1:39 mark. With Coahoma up by three points plus ball possession, Cox picked Quintarius Boatman's pocket near midcourt and finished with a bucket on the other end. A contested miss inside by Coahoma was then followed by an Ill'yan Scott basket on an interior feed from Agnew to put EMCC back on top, 80-79, with 31 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing Coahoma possession, Agnew picked off a perimeter pass and earned a trip to the free throw line when Morris was called for an intentional foul. The Starkville High School product converted both charity tosses with 10 ticks left to make it a three-point game. The resulting EMCC ball possession on the intentional foul call enabled the Lions to seal the victory with another Agnew free throw after he was fouled on the inbounds pass.
Improving to 8-5 overall and 1-1 within the division, head coach Billy Begley's EMCC Lions were led in scoring by Cox and Agnew with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Cox, from Ripley, connected on 7-of-10 shots from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range. Thomas, out of New Hope High School, contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the victory.
Falling to 2-10 overall and 0-2 in division play, the Coahoma men were paced by Malik Bailey's game-high 28 points. Boatman followed close behind with 24 points.
The East Mississippi basketball teams continue their current home stand by playing host to the Tigers of Northeast Mississippi Community College Tuesday on the Scooba campus. Doubleheader hoops action tips off at 5:30 p.m. at EMCC's Currie Coliseum.