The East Central University men’s basketball team gave the fans a great game, earning a 68-67 last-second win over Southeastern Oklahoma State in Great American Conference action at the Kerr Activities Center.
The Tigers (6-10, 3-7 GAC) were led by a trio of players in double-digits. Junior Colby Carr earned his sixth double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Fellow junior Gregory Ardister added his third double-double of the year, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Miles Mitchell rounded out the group with a season-best 15 points, including five triples.
ECU was the first to score on a triple from local freshman Nick Anderson, who earned his first career start. The Savage Storm (10-6, 6-4 GAC) then went on a 4-0 run before the Tigers scored again. The teams traded shots and a three from Southeastern, with 16:22 left to play, gave them an 8-11 advantage.
The score remained stagnate for the next two minutes before ECU started a 4-0 run over a minute span to take a 12-11 lead. The Tigers continued the push the momentum and took a 17-13 lead half way through the stanza. ECU built its lead out to as many as 10 points over the next six minutes, but the Savage Storm followed with a 10-0 run of its own in the final minutes of the half to force a 28-all tie on a last second three.
Southeastern continued the run into the second half, scoring the first four points, and pushed out to an eight point lead (34-42), with 14:41 left on the clock. ECU slowly picked away at the lead, forced a tie at 58 and took a 63-58 lead with 5:25 left to play.
The Savage Storm fought back to tie the game at 63, with 3:45 remaining, and the teams battled through the rest of the half. With 50 seconds left to play, Southeastern scored to take a 65-67 lead, but a free-throw by Ardister on the next possession cut the lead to one.
ECU got a break when the Savage Storm missed a lay-up with 19 seconds remaining and Carr came down with the rebound. Carr fed the ball quickly up court and junior Chris Fisher moved through traffic and scored a shot with seven second left to give the Tigers a 68-67 lead. Southeastern had one last shot for the lead, but failed to get a shot off before time ran out.
The key advantages for the Tigers were three-point shooting and free throws. ECU made nine triples to six by the Savage Storm and connected on 11-of-23 shots from the charity stripe, while limiting Southeastern to just 16 trips (7 made).
The Tigers will hit the road for one game before returning to the Kerr Activities Center for two games next week. ECU will travel to Searcy, Ark., for a Saturday, Jan. 26 battle with Harding at 4 p.m.