For the second time this season the East Central University men’s basketball team has handed an undefeated team its first loss of the season, with a 80-67 win at Fugate Gymnasium over Newman.
“It was a great win,” said head coach Mac McConnell. “Newman defeated the No. 2 team in the nation two days ago and for us to be able to hand them their first loss is a great building block. I am very happy that we were able to end the 2012 portion of the season on a winning note and we will come back next semester and continue to build on this win with the confidence that the team has gained.”
The Tigers (4-6, 1-3 GAC) were led by junior Colby Carr, who tallied his second double-double of the season on career-highs of 15 points and 13 rebounds. Carr was one of four players in double figures for ECU, as freshman Marquis Walters earned a career-best 19 points, junior Chris Fisher added a career-high 17 and junior Jason Williams tallied 14.
The Jets (8-1) were the first to get on the scoreboard, but with free throws. ECU did not allow Newman to score a basket for almost the first five minutes of the game, while scoring 10 points of its own. Once the Jets got their first basket, the started an 8-0 run to even out the game and take a 12-10 lead. The teams traded points and runs over the next 10 minutes before the Tigers ended the half with a 7-0 run to take a 37-31 lead into the locker room.
ECU continued to push the tempo in the start of the second half, extending the run to 15-2 in order to take a 12-point advantage with 16 minutes left on the clock. The Jets cut the lead to five (50-45), with 11:28 left on the clock, on a 5-0 run. But that was as close as ECU allowed Newman to get the rest of the game. The Tigers quickly built their lead back to double digits in the next five minutes and held it for the rest of the game on way to an 80-67 win.
ECU used strong shooting and a rebound advantage to earn the win. The Tigers shot 53.1 percent (26-of-49) from the field and 60 percent (6-of-10) from beyond the arc, while the Jets were held to a 35.9 percent (23-of-64) and 11.1 percent (2-of-18). ECU also tallied 49 rebounds to 34 by Newman.
The Tigers will now have two weeks off before starting the bulk portion of the Great American Conference season, Jan. 3 at the Kerr Activities Center when they welcome Arkansas-Monticello for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.