Wilkerson scores 28 in Tigers victory

1-23-08 - Justin Wilkerson turned in a dominating performance of 28 points and 18 rebounds as the East Central University Tigers thrashed the Cameron University Aggies with a big second half and rolled to a 95-76 Lone Star Conference North men’s basketball win Wednesday night at Aggie Gym.

ECU, which improved to 10-7 overall and 1-2 in the LSC North, outscored the Aggies 34-12 in the final 12:16 and capped the game off with a dunk-fest (four in the final 1:43).

Wilkerson, a 6-7 sophomore forward, was one of five double-figure scorers for the Tigers, who shot 61.7 percent from the floor, including 46.2 percent (6-of-13) from 3-point territory.

ECU senior guard Terrell Carpenter also posted a double-double with 20 points and 11 assists to go along with four steals. Tyler Thetford uncorked four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points, senior Dominique Scales added 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting and James Reynolds added 12 points, including one trey, and a pair of assists.

The Tigers withstood a 3-point shooting barrage by the Aggies, who fell to 2-15 and 0-2. Cameron connected on 10-of-20 attempts from 3-point land as Leslie Malone, Greg Morgan and Dave Smith drained two apiece. Malone topped CU with a game-leading 29 points and eight rebounds while Morgan and Smith chipped in 10 points each.

ECU trailed 64-61 before Wilkerson scored, drew a foul and nailed the ensuing free throw for a conventional 3-point play with just over 12 minutes to go. That play keyed the scoring onslaught down the stretch for the Tigers.

Carpenter hit a layup after a steal and long feed by Thetford with 10:58 left to put the Tigers on top for good (68-66) and Wilkerson converted a reverse layup off a Carpenter pass to make it 68-64.

After Smith got Cameron within two, ECU pulled away by outscoring the hosts 27-10. Carpenter’s conventional 3-point play along with a Thetford spot-up trey were the highlights before the Tigers literally dunked the game away.

Scales slammed the ball at 1:43 off a Thetford pass, Wilkerson dunked off a Carpenter feed at 1:31, Scales had another slam at :56 and Carpenter passed the ball off the backboard to Don Riley for a dunk with :07 left to cap off the explosive flurry down the stretch.

The Aggies shot 47 percent for the game overall, but managed to convert only 4-of-11 free shots. Meanwhile, the Tigers were 15-of-21 from the charity stripe (71.4 percent).

ECU also owned a convincing 38-25 advantage on the boards. The Tigers also had five more turnovers, 13-8. However, all eight of the Aggie miscues came in the second half and ECU played better defense.

Thetford swished in a 3-pointer at the buzzer off a kick-out pass from Reynolds to give the Tigers a 48-45 halftime advantage.

The Aggies led most of the first half by knocking down 8-of-16 shots from 3-point range, but ECU outscored the hosts 13-6 in the final 3:38 of the opening half.

Carpenter led the Tigers at the break with 13 points while Wilkerson and Thetford had 11 apiece. Thetford was 3-of-4 from long range in the opening 20 minutes while Wilkerson went 5-of-6 from the floor overall. ECU shot 65.4 percent from the field in the first half.

Malone had 16 points at intermission for Cameron as the Aggies had no first-half turnovers and pulled down six of their 13 boards on the offensive end. ECU did hold an 18-13 rebounding advantage, but committed seven miscues.

The Tigers’ next action will be Saturday as they host Central Oklahoma at 4 p.m. on Wayne Cobb Court in the Kerr Activities Center.