SCOOBA – An 18-0 second-half surge lifted the East Mississippi Community College men's basketball team to a 73-55 home victory over Baton Rouge Community College during Saturday afternoon Region 23 action at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.
Despite struggling from the field during the opening 20 minutes of action, the Lions used a 15-3 run midway through the first half to turn an early 11-8 deficit into a 23-14 lead with 8:45 remaining until intermission. The visiting Bears promptly answered with eight straight points en route to making it a one-point game by the break.
Hitting only 8-of-30 shots (27%) from the field during the first half, including just 4-of-18 (22%) from beyond the three-point arc, EMCC was still able to maintain a 26-25 halftime advantage.
The game remained tightly contested through the first 12 minutes of the second stanza. With just under eight minutes left in the game, EMCC's Cam Horton intercepted an inbounds pass and converted the layup to ignite the Lions' 18-0 run that blew open the contest.
The game-changing stretch continued with the second of four second-half 3-pointers by Keith Harris and a four-point play by Dewayne Cox. Another Harris trey and a three-point play by Horton capped the run that increased a four-point lead into a commanding 66-44 EMCC advantage by the 4:23 mark.
On the way to cruising to the 18-point victory, the Lions made 15-of-29 (52%) field goals, including 9-of-17 (53%) from three-point range, during the second half.
Starkville's Harris led a quartet of double-digit scorers for the Lions with 12 of his team-high 17 points for the game coming on four second-half 3-pointers. Horton and Robert Davis Jr. followed with 14 and 12 points, respectively, while fellow Starkville High School product Darrious Agnew recorded his third double-double of the year with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the winners.
Falling to 4-7 on the season, the Bears of Baton Rouge were paced by Donald Williams Jr. and Makye Richard with 17 and 13 points, respectively.
Coach Billy Begley's 6-2 EMCC Lions will return to the hardwood, Dec. 28-29, at the Tallahassee Democrat Holiday Classic in Florida, where they will meet Pensacola State College on the first day before taking on fourth-ranked and host Tallahassee Community College during second-day tournament action.