The East Central University men’s basketball team lost a 72-80 game to Henderson State in Great American Conference action at the Kerr Activities Center.
The Tigers (6-12, 3-9 GAC) were led by junior Colby Carr, who tallied 14 points and nine rebounds. Junior Gregory Ardister added 14 points and junior Miles Mitchell tallied 11. Fellow junior Jason Williams led the team with 12 rebounds, while also garnering nine points.
The teams traded points in the first minute of the game before ECU started a 10-0 run, over a four-minute span, to take control of the scoreboard, 13-4. The Tigers pushed their lead out to 10 in the first six minutes of play before the Reddies (10-8, 5-7 GAC) cut the lead to two (20-18), with 9:39 remaining in the half. ECU pushed back and built the lead back out to 10 and went into the locker room with a 36-31 lead.
The teams traded points for the first three minutes of the second stanza, but a 4-1 run by HSU cut the lead to one (43-42), with 16:54 left on the clock. The Reddies kept fighting and kept the score within three points for the next five minutes before taking a 49-50 lead, with 11:50 remaining.
The Tigers kept the game close for the next two minutes, but a 5-0 run by HSU came them a five point advantage. The Reddies pushed the lead out to as many as 12 (55-67) before ECU made one final push late in the half.
With just under four minutes left to play, the Tigers used a 10-2 run over a three-minute span to cut the deficit to three (70-73). However, HSU took advantage of 8-of-9 trips to the charity stripe in the final minute to earn the 72-80 win.
While the Tigers made four more shots from the field, five more triples and out-rebounded HSU 42-39, the Reddies earned the win with the clock stopped. HSU made 30-of-44 free-throw attempts and only allowed ECU to get to the line 19 times (nine makes).
The Tigers will next face-off with the other Tiger team in the GAC, when Ouachita Baptist comes to the Kerr Activities Center for a 4 p.m. game, Saturday, Feb. 2. The game is part of the annual Hall of Fame ceremonies, with the induction ceremony taking place prior to the start of the men’s game.