MERIDIAN – In their first road action of the young season, the East Mississippi Community College basketball teams gained an MACJC doubleheader split against Meridian Community College Monday night at Graham Gymnasium. Following the Lady Eagles' 58-48 win over EMCC in the women's game, the visiting Lions claimed a convincing 74-47 victory in the men's nightcap.
In the opener, the Meridian women broke open a tightly contested game by making a 17-4 run to close out the first quarter with a 24-10 lead. The visitors managed to cut the deficit to six points on a couple of occasions in the second period before the Lady Eagles scored the last five points of the quarter to take a 35-24 halftime lead.
Keyed by eight third-quarter points by reigning MACJC all-state guard Tyeisha Juhan, EMCC out-scored Meridian, 16-7, in the period and then knotted the score at 42-all on another Juhan basket following a steal to begin the fourth quarter.
But that's as close as the 1-1 Lions would get, as Rokila Wallace answered with back-to-back buckets to put the Lady Eagles back in front for good. Her nine fourth-quarter points helped spark MCC to the 10-point victory.
Juhan, a sophomore out of Jonesboro, Ga., recorded her sixth career double-double by finishing with a game-high 22 points, 13 rebounds and five steals. Freshman Brianna Page was EMCC's other double-digit scorer with 10 points.
MCC's Wallace, from Columbus, finished with 17 points for the winners, followed by Qiayon Bailey and Shannon Tate with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
In the men's contest, the Lions, now 2-0, created some distance by going on a 13-3 run to break an early 7-7 tie. A highlight-reel, breakaway dunk by EMCC point guard Cam Horton following a steal gave the visitors a double-digit lead (20-10) midway through the opening half. EMCC essentially put the game away by outscoring the Eagles, 17-5, over the final six minutes of the half to take a commanding 40-19 halftime advantage.
The home team was able to cut the deficit to 19 points (42-23) shortly after the break, but the Lions responded with nine unanswered points to pull ahead by 28 points and basically coast from there. With continued defensive intensity, EMCC's comfortable margin stayed at 20-plus points the rest of the way en route to the 27-point triumph.
All 13 EMCC players who dressed out for the contest entered the scoring column on the night. After being saddled with first-half foul trouble, New Hope High School product Terryonte Thomas scored all of his team-high 12 points after halftime. The Starkville tandem of Keith Harris and Darrious Agnew followed with 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the winners.
The Eagles were led by Tim Lacey and Don'taidrae Scott with 11 points apiece.
The East Mississippi basketball teams return to MACJC action Thursday night by playing host to the Warriors of East Central Community College. A 5:30 p.m. women's game will be followed by a 7:30 men's contest at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.