The East Central University men’s basketball team didn’t take too long to break their winless streak, as they claimed a 67-56 win at Southern Arkansas in Great American Conference action.
The Tigers (7-5, 4-2 GAC) were led by redshirt freshman A.J. Moutry, with 18 points and three rebounds. Senior Colby Carr added 15 points as the only other ECU player with double-digits in the scoring column.
“I am really proud of the team,” said head coach Ja Havens. “They really stepped up in the last four minutes and did a better job in the areas where we struggled in the last game.”
The first half started out slow with ECU trailing 1-3, with 16:32 left to play. However, that is when the Tigers kicked into gear and used an 18-0 run over the next seven minutes to gain a 19-3 advantage. The Muleriders (5-4, 2-2 GAC) then used a 10-3 run of their own over the next two minutes to cut the deficit to 22-13.
The teams then battled through the rest of the half trading points and runs. The Tigers got a slight edge in the remaining time and went to the locker room leading 40-26.
The Tigers opened the second half strong, going on a 7-2 run in the first 3:30. Both teams then traded runs over the next three minutes, with ECU holding a 51-34 advantage. SAU wasn’t done fighting and followed with a 10-0 run of its own to cut the deficit to seven (51-44), with 9:28 left to play.
After a triple by Chris Fisher, the Muleriders used a 7-0 run over the next 3:30 to cut the deficit to three (54-51). The Tigers kept fighting and put together a 7-0 run over the next 1:30 to increase the lead back to double-digits (61-51).
The Muleriders kicked up the defense in the final two minutes, holding ECU to just six points, all from the free-throw line, while earning five of their own. The final push was not enough and the Tigers claimed the 67-56 victory.
The game was close on the box score, with the Tigers earning a key advantage in shooting percentages. ECU shot 42.9 percent (21-of-49) from the field and held SAU to a 35 (21-of-60) mark.
The Tigers will now return home to start a three-game home stand when they host Northwestern Oklahoma State, Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kerr Activities Center.