– The East Central University men’s basketball team dropped a 51-61 decision to Southern Arkansas in a key Great American Conference game.
The Tigers (7-13, 4-10 GAC) were led by junior Colby Carr, who tallied his seventh double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow junior Chris Fisher added 12 points, for the only other ECU player with 10+ points.
The Muleriders (9-11, 5-9 GAC) came out firing in the first half and went on a 15-1 run before ECU scored its first field goal of the game, with 14:40 left to play in the stanza. The Tigers did not give up and used a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to cut the deficit to six (11-17).
The teams traded shots and droughts for the next four minutes before SAU took control of the scoreboard again, with an 8-0 run over the next four minutes to take a 16-29 lead. ECU scored four points to one by the Muleriders in the final two minutes, but went into the locker room trailing 20-30.
The Tigers came out ready to fight in the second half and in the first 6:30 used a 17-5 run to take a 37-35 lead. The run was spurred by four triples. SAU followed with a 10-3 run to regain a 40-46 lead with 11:30 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Muleriders used a 6-0 run to build their lead to 11 and kept the advantage between eight and 12 points for the rest of the game on their way to the 51-61 win.
“Southern Arkansas started out extremely hot, but we were able to come back and make it manageable before half,” said head coach Mac McConnell. “We were then able to get up in the second, but we took a lot of bad shots once we did come back and take the lead. From that point we let Southern Arkansas out work us the rest of the game.”
After shooting 23% in the first half, the Tigers ended the game with a 29.8% (17-of-57) shooting percentage and a 44% (8-of-18) mark from three-point range. SAU was held to a .317 (19-of-60) mark from the field and 6-of-18 (33%) mark from beyond the arc. However, ECU lost key battles in the free-throw column and in the rebounding column. The Tigers went 9-of-20 at the charity stripe and allowed the Muleriders to go 17-of-26 at the line. SAU also earned a 50-40 advantage on the boards.
ECU will wrap up the weekend at Arkansas-Monticello, with a 4 p.m. game Saturday, Feb. 9 at Steelman Fieldhouse.