ECU Men's Basketball Comeback Falls Short at Northwestern

The East Central University men's basketball team had its five-game winning streak snapped, with a 66-71 loss at Northwestern Oklahoma State.

The Tigers (12-5, 8-3 GAC) were led by junior Braxton Reeves, who tallied 20 points and seven rebounds. Senior Stirling Thomas was the only other player in double-digits in the scoring column, with 11.

The game started as a tight battle, with no team leading by more than two points in the first eight minutes. The teams were knotted at 10, with 11:28 to play, when the Rangers (5-10, 5-6 GAC) pushed the tempo of the game and used an 11-0 run to gain a 10-21 advantage over the next three minutes.

ECU countered with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes, but NWOSU pushed the advantage back out to nine in a minute and never let up in the half, as they used a 12-0 run in the final 3:30 to take a 24-40 lead into the intermission.

The Rangers scored the first four points of the second half, but when the Tigers got going they rattled off an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to nine (35-44). NWOSU fought back and used several small runs to push the lead out to 48-61, with 5:33 left to play.

That is when ECU found another gear and went on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to one (60-61), with just under three minutes left to play. The Tigers continued the pressure and took a short 64-63 lead over the next forty seconds. However, the Rangers did not let the pressure get to them and went on an 8-2 run in the remaining time to earn the 66-71 win.

Early turnovers were a key to the large deficit that the Tigers had to overcome, as ECU had 14 turnovers at the half and finished with 21 to the Rangers 16. The Tigers also failed to make the most of their shots at the charity stripe, going 16-of-28, while allowing NWOSU to go 21-of-29.

ECU will remain on the road for the next two games, as they start the second half of GAC action next weekend at Southern Arkansas (Thursday, Jan. 28) and Arkansas-Monticello (Saturday, Jan. 30).

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