1-16-08 - East Central’s Tigers, playing without senior guard Terrell Carpenter, took 17th-ranked Southwestern Oklahoma State to the wire Wednesday night, but couldn’t finish as the Bulldogs held on for a pulsating 52-49 victory in the Lone Star Conference North opener for both teams at Rankin Williams Fieldhouse.
ECU, which fell to 9-6 overall and 0-1 in the LSC North, shot 44.7 percent from the floor and knocked down 7-of-15 three-point attempts (46.7 percent), but fell victim to 24 turnovers and saw SWOSU pull down 17 of its 36 rebounds off the offensive glass.
Carpenter, the Tigers’ leading scorer and assist leader, missed Wednesday’s contest due to a stomach virus.
ECU went the final 3:36 without any points as SWOSU closed the game with a 6-0 run
Junior center Ian Adams topped the Tigers in scoring with 12 points, followed by Tariq Naqqash with nine and Michael Dyson with eight.
Don Riley finished with just six points for ECU, but grabbed a team-leading nine boards to go along with four assists and a steal.
The Tigers held a 39-36 rebounding edge, but surrendered the onslaught of Bulldog offensive boards.
Nate Perry paced SWOSU, 13-3 and 1-0, with a game-high 16 points and 13 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Kendall Smith followed with 14 points and Trevor Guy tacked on 12 points and six defensive boards.
Justin Wilkerson’s layup with 3:36 turned out to be the final points for the Tigers who saw SWOSU’s Smith sink two free shots with 3:27 to go and later drilled a 3-pointer with 3:00 remaining. Garcia then hit the first of two free throws with :07 to go for the final 3-point margin.
ECU was unable to get off a final shot as it turned the ball over with three seconds left.
Neither team held more than a five-point advantage throughout the contest.
The Tigers trailed by a slim 30-28 margin at the half, despite shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 50 percent (4-of-8) from 3-point territory.
However, ECU was plagued by 14 first-half turnovers, compared to the Bulldogs‘ eight.
Riley, Dyson, Thetford and Naqqash each had six points while Adams chipped in four in a balanced scoring effort in the opening half for the Tigers.
SWOSU, behind Perry’s 12 points, shot 40.7 percent in the opening 20 minutes and was 5-of-16 (31.3 percent) from long range.
Guy ended up with nine points before intermission for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers’ next action will be Saturday as they entertain Texas A&M-Commerce at 2 p.m. in another LSC North clash on Wayne Cobb Court inside the Kerr Activities Center.