DECATUR – Tyeisha Juhan's career-high 35 points lifted the East Mississippi Community College women's basketball team to a 72-65 road win over previously unbeaten East Central Community College during MACJC doubleheader hoops action Tuesday night at Brackeen-Wood Gym. In the men's nightcap, the EMCC Lions battled from behind virtually the entire evening before dropping a hard-fought 99-92 decision to the Warriors.
In the women's contest, Juhan connected on five of her first seven shot attempts from the field to help stake the visitors to an early 16-9 lead with three minutes remaining in the opening quarter. After a Brianna Page 3-pointer later gave EMCC a 22-17 advantage at the end of the period, the Lions maintained their five-point margin by holding a 35-30 halftime lead.
Juhan's 3-pointer to start the second stanza was answered by an 11-3 East Central run that knotted the game at 41-all on Breanna Riley's trey at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter. The Lions promptly responded with eight unanswered points that proved to be the turning point of the contest. Back-to-back triples by Juhan and Page were followed by a converted layup off an inbounds steal by Kaisah Lucky to give EMCC a 49-41 lead with three minutes left in the quarter.
After owning an 11-point advantage (57-46) heading into the final period, the Lions scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to extend the margin to 16 points. They maintained that double-digit cushion for the majority of the quarter before the Lady Warriors scored 11 of the game's final 15 points to cut the deficit to five points during the closing moments of the contest.
While evening their overall record at 5-5 on the season, head coach Sharon Thompson's EMCC Lions handed East Central its first loss of the season in nine decisions. The visitors shot 51 percent (28-55 FGs) from the field for the game, while limiting the Lady Warriors to just 37-percent shooting on 23-of-63 field goals.
Juhan's career-best 35 points came on 14-of-21 shooting from the field, including a sizzling 7-of-10 accuracy from behind the three-point arc. The reigning All-Region 23 backcourt performer connected on her first four three-point attempts of the second half. The Jonesboro, Georgia native added 10 rebounds and three assists against ECCC to register her second double-double of the season and seventh of her EMCC career. Page, a freshman forward out of West Jones High School, contributed a season-high 13 points to the winning effort on 4-of-6 field-goal shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range.
Falling to 8-1 on the year, the East Central women were led by Tamirra Haskin and Tan Lloyd with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The high-scoring men's contest featured 21 made 3-pointers between the two teams. Despite Cam Horton's trio of early treys, the EMCC men fell behind by 10 points (24-14). The Lions managed to trim the first-half deficit to a single digit on four different occasions before East Central went back up by eight points (45-37) following consecutive three-point plays from Cameron Diggs and Roti Ware. New Hope High School product Terryonte Thomas answered with his own three-point conversion to begin a 9-3 EMCC run over the final two minutes of the half that pulled the visitors to within a basket (48-46) by the intermission.
After the Lions tied the game at 48-all with the first bucket of the second stanza, the Warriors steadily rebuilt their lead to a dozen points (67-55) with 14:15 remaining after four consecutive free throws by Ware. EMCC again responded by cutting the deficit to one point two more times later in the game. Consecutive 3-pointers by Markedric Bell made it a 75-74 contest with eight minutes left, and Dewayne Cox's trey shortly thereafter trimmed it to 78-77.
The visitors, however, could never manage to even the score or take the lead again for the remainder of the contest. After bouncing back again from an eight-point deficit late in the game, the Lions made one final comeback attempt by pulling to within a basket (94-92) with 1:32 remaining on three made free throws by Darrious Agnew during successive trips to the charity stripe.
While benefitting from attempting twice as many free throws as EMCC during the contest, East Central used a pair of charity tosses and a subsequent 3-pointer by Thurston McCarty down the stretch to lock down the victory. For the game, the Warriors converted 39-of-47 (83%) from the line in contrast to just 15-of-23 (65%) free throws by the Lions.
Head coach Billy Begley's 7-5 EMCC Lions were paced by Cox and Horton with 22 and 20 points, respectively, on a combined 9-of-18 shooting from three-point range. Bell added 18 points on 7-of-8 accuracy from the field.
Improving to 7-3 on the year, the East Central men had five players score in double figures. Ware led the way with a game-high 24 points, including a perfect 14-of-14 from the line, followed by McCarty and Diggs with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Jaquan Dotson and Cayman Ruffin added 17 and 15 points, respectively, to the winning effort for the Warriors.
The East Mississippi basketball teams resume MACJC North Division competition by playing host to the Coahoma Tigers Thursday night 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 Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.