The East Central University men’s basketball team dropped a 71-76 decision in a fast paced game at Steelman Fieldhouse against Arkansas-Monticello in Great American Conference action.
The Tigers (6-5, 3-2 GAC) were led by junior Brandon Lucas, who tallied 15 points and added five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Redshirt freshman A. J. Moutry added 12 points, while senior Chris Lee contributed 10 points and four rebounds.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle that ended with a 39-all tie at the end of 20 minutes. UAM started the game with a 4-0 run, but ECU quickly followed with a 7-0 run of its own in the first four minutes. The game was then tied at 10, with 15:35 remaining. Both teams traded runs over the next five minutes before a 6-3 run by ECU pushed them ahead 24-18, with 8:11 left on the clock.
The Tigers kept the lead between five and eight points for the next six minutes before a 10-2 run in the final three minutes by the Boll Weevils (9-2, 3-1 GAC) forced the stalemate at 39 to end the stanza.
The Tigers opened the second half with a 4-0 run, but UAM followed with a 10-0 run to take a 43-49 advantage. ECU fought back with an 8-0 run to regain a small (51-49) lead. However, the Boll Weevils used a 9-0 run to take the lead again, with 9:45 left on the clock, 54-60.
After both teams went cold from the field, but were able to score from the charity stripe for four minutes, Moutry tied the game at 67, with just over four minutes left to play. However, UAM took advantage of several free throw opportunities in the final minutes of the game and earned the 71-76 win.
The game was close in the box score to reflect the close score. ECU shot 42.1 percent (25-of-57) from the field, while the Boll Weevils shot 42.3 percent (22-of-52). While both teams had similar free throw percentages (70.0 to 70.7), UAM got to the line more than double the amount of times of the Tigers. ECU went 14-of-20 from the line, while the Boll Weevils were 29-of-41.
The Tigers will look to get back on the winning track, Saturday, Jan. 4 when they travel to Magnolia, Ark., to face Southern Arkansas at 4 p.m.