SCOOBA – The East Mississippi Community College basketball teams picked up convincing double-digit home victories over Holmes Community College during Monday night's MACJC North Division hoops action contested at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum. The Lady Lions shot 69 percent from the field in the second half to coast to a 71-49 victory in women's action, while the EMCC men moved into a first-place tie within the division with their solid 70-59 triumph over the Bulldogs.
In the men's nightcap, six different EMCC players hit 3-pointers in the opening half as the Lions used a 10-4 run over the final six minutes to take a 33-27 halftime lead. Sophomore Darrious Agnew again ignited a spark off the bench for the Lions with a 3-pointer early in the half and a thunderous dunk down the lane to cap a 7-0 late surge.
The Lions carried the momentum into the second stanza by quickly upping their lead to double figures (40-29) on a Terryonte Thomas 3-pointer three minutes into the half. Noel Jones' third triple of the game three minutes later capped another 7-0 EMCC run and lengthened the lead to 21 points (52-31) with 14 minutes still remaining to play in the contest.
The margin remained in double digits the rest of the game, though Holmes managed to cut the deficit to 11 points a couple of times down the stretch, including the final tally. The Lions were able to hold off the comeback-minded Bulldogs by hitting 14-of-16 (88%) from the charity stripe during the second half (19-of-21 FTs for the game).
Coupled with Itawamba's win at Northeast Mississippi on Monday, EMCC's home victory over Holmes moved the Lions into a first-place tie with the NEMCC Tigers in the men's MACJC North Division standings. Coach Billy Begley's EMCC Lions improved to 12-7 overall and 6-2 within the division with their first series win over Holmes since the 2013-14 season.
Agnew, a Starkville product, finished with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and added six rebounds. Thomas and Dewayne Cox followed with a dozen points apiece for the winners.
Dropping to 12-6 overall and 4-3 in division play, the Holmes Bulldogs were led by Kassim Nicholson's double-double effort of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Czar Perry, who exploded for 37 points against EMCC in Goodman last month, was held to 12 points in the rematch.
In women's action, EMCC's Brianna Page made her presence felt early in the contest en route to having a career night. The sophomore forward converted consecutive three-point plays midway through the opening quarter to give the Lady Lions a lead they would maintain the rest of the period.
After holding a 19-14 advantage following the first 10 minutes of action, EMCC was only able to manage five points during the second quarter and trailed Holmes, 28-24, heading into halftime.
The Lady Lions came out of intermission red-hot from the perimeter by connecting on four 3-pointers – two by Page – during the first five minutes of the second stanza. The 16-2 spurt to open the half put EMCC ahead by double figures (40-30) by the 5:06 mark. Following another trey by Page, EMCC freshman Aamiya Rush scored the team's last three baskets of the period to give the Lady Lions a 13-point (49-36) advantage heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
An 8-2 EMCC run to open the fourth quarter extended the insurmountable margin to 19 points (57-38) on another Page bucket. With the Lady Lions drilling a sizzling 18-of-26 (69.2%) second-half shots from the field, the cushion ballooned to 25 points (66-41) on the way to the final 22-point outcome. The win avenged EMCC's 61-57 setback to Holmes in Goodman a month ago and marked the team's first win over the Lady Bulldogs since the 2016-17 season.
Page, a product of West Jones High School, finished with a career-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, 4-of-5 accuracy from three-point range and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. She also pulled down seven rebounds to tie for team honors. Freshman guard Tye Metcalf followed with 14 points and seven assists while Rush added 12 points, seven boards and three assists, as Coach Sharon Thompson's EMCC Lady Lions improved to 8-11 overall and moved into a second-place tie with a 5-3 division mark.
Falling to 7-11 overall and 3-4 in division play, the Holmes women were led by Jekalen Jones and Brysa Maxwell with 12 points apiece.
The East Mississippi basketball teams will continue their week-long home stand by playing host to the Coahoma Tigers during a Thursday hoops twin bill on the Scooba campus. A 5:30 p.m. women's game will be followed by a 7:30 men's contest at EMCC's Currie Coliseum. The doubleheader will also be available via live stream at www.EMCCAthletics.com/live with Austin Buchanan calling the play-by-play action.