ECU picks up win against Rhema Bible

12-18-07 - Forward Justin Wilkerson picked up his second double-double of the season Monday night with 16 points and 10 rebounds as the East Central University Tigers knocked off Rhema Bible 68-59 Monday night in the ECU Christmas Classic at the Kerr Activities Center.

Wilkerson, a 6-9 sophomore from Greenville, Texas, nailed 7-of-12 shots from the floor, including one 3-pointer, and pulled down eight of his boards on the defensive end of the floor. It was Wilkerson’s second double-double of the season.

He shared team-high scoring honors with junior forward Don Riley, who also finished with 16 points, including one trey, and dished out a game-leading seven assists as the Tigers compiled an unselfish 19 for the game.

Junior guard Tariq Naqqash also finished in double figures with 11 as he converted 2-of-3 shots from the floor and was 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.

The Tigers, who improved to 4-3 on the season, actually trailed 27-26 at the half after shooting just 37.9 percent. However, ECU warmed up in the second stanza, hitting 13-of-22 shot attempts for 59.1 percent to finish at 47.1 for the game.

Freshman Lougwin Spann added eight points, four boards, an assist and two steals off the bench for the Tigers and junior starter Michael Dyson knocked down 3-of-4 shots from the field and converted his only free throw to finish with seven points in the game. Senior guard Terrell Carpenter finished with only six points on a pair of 3-pointers, but also collected seven assists on the night.

Rhema Bible, which fell to 2-12, received a game-high 21 points from Gabe White and 12 more from Jerid Cook as the Eagles kept the scoring down in the contest by working the shot clock.

Rhema shot 42.6 percent for the game as the Tigers owned a 35-27 rebounding advantage. Each team committed 15 turnovers.

ECU got the upper-hand for good when Wilkerson converted on old-fashioned 3-point play with 14:18 to go. That triggered an 8-1 run in which Spann connected on a jumper and Riley added a conventional 3-point play of his own for a 38-31 Tiger advantage with 12:08 remaining.

The pesky Eagles pulled within 52-47 with 3:27 left, but got no closer as ECU hit 10-of-12 free throws in the final 3:23 as Naqqash was 7-of-8. During that stretch run, Wilkerson took a nifty backdoor feed from Riley and slam-dunked the ball with 2:19 remaining for a 58-47 ECU cushion.

The Tigers resume Christmas Classic play on Tuesday against Dallas Baptist at 2 p.m. Rhema Bible and Abilene Christian will meet prior to that in a noon game.

Abilene Christian upended Dallas Baptist 101-81 in the earlier game on Monday as ACU’s Dejan Sencanski fired in 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Brandon Callahan followed with 18 points and six assists for the victorious Wildcats (6-2).

Dwight Coleman topped DBU (3-4) with 24 points and 10 boards. Shelby Lewis followed with 16 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals.