The East Central University men's basketball team suffered a one-point loss, 58-59, to Southern Arkansas at the Kerr Activities Center in Great American Conference action.
The Tigers (10-4, 4-2 GAC) were paced by seniors Henry Pwono and Brandon Lucas. Pwono tallied 20 points and nine rebounds, while Lucas added 17 points and four boards.
Both teams scored just twice in the opening five minutes, with ECU holding a 5-4 advantage. That is when the Tigers started a 14-4 run over the next seven minutes to take a 19-8 lead. The Muleriders (8-4, 5-2 GAC) countered with a 7-0 run to cut the advantage to four (19-15) over a minute span.
The advantage remained between two and four points, in favor of ECU, for the next minute before the Tigers went on an 8-0 run to push the lead back out to 29-18. SAU took control in the final three minutes of the stanza, going on a 5-1 run for a 30-23 score at the half.
The battle resumed in the second half, with the teams keeping the scoring close in the first four minutes. With 15 minutes left to play, the Muleriders started their push and used a 12-6 run over the next 7:30 to get within three (44-41). The Tigers fought back with a 6-2 run over the next two minutes before the battle resumed.
ECU then hit a cold spell and didn't hit a field goal after 5:18 remained on the clock. SAU put together a 12-4 run in the final minutes that allowed them to first tie the score at 56 and then earn the one-point win (59-58).
The Muleriders earned a key advantage in shooting percentage, with a 23-of-57 (.404) mark for the game compared to an 18-of-51 (.353) mark by the Tigers.
ECU will now prepare for another battle for one of the top spots in the GAC standings when Ouachita Baptist comes to the Kerr Activities Center Saturday, Jan. 10 for a 3 p.m. battle of the Tigers.