The East Central University men's basketball team went on a three-point shooting exhibition in the second half to earn a decisive 85-60 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma State in Great American Conference action at the Kerr Activities Center.
The Tigers (14-5, 8-3 GAC) were paced by junior Stirling Thomas and redshirt sophomore Braxton Reeves, who are both ranked in the top-30 in the NCAA for three-point field goals made and attempted. Thomas garnered 25 points, going 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. Reeves added 22 points and a 5-of-10 mark from three-point range. Senior Henry Pwono added nine points and a team-best seven rebounds.
The opening three minutes of the game were a close battle, with the teams ending the time tied at four each. That is when ECU made its move and used an 8-2 run over the next two minutes to take a 12-6 lead.
The Tigers had the advantage out to 10 points by the 11:20 mark, but the Rangers (5-13, 4-7 GAC) were not done fighting and used a 7-0 run to cut the lead to three (20-17). ECU followed with a 7-0 run of its own and then kept the advantage between seven and 10 points the rest of the stanza, taking a 36-27 lead into the locker room.
The Tigers came out in the second half and never looked back, using a 12-2 run in the first four minutes to push the lead to 19 points. The advantage was out to 20 with 13 minutes remaining and 30 with just over nine minutes left on the clock.
ECU pushed the lead out to as many as 35 points in the half, but in the final four minutes of the game NWOSU made a push and used an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to as little as 24 points, with the Tigers holding on for the 85-60 win.
ECU went 14-of-33 from the three-point line for the game and held the Rangers to a 2-of-13 mark. The Tigers also had a strong overall day shooting and on defense, making 55.4% of their shots (31-of-56) and allowing NWOSU to go just 20-of-53 (37.7%).
ECU will now get a week off before their next game, as they travel to face Southwestern Oklahoma State, Saturday, Jan. 31 at 3 p.m. in Weatherford, Okla.