SCOOBA — The 10th-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College will tip off the 2012 MACJC State Basketball Tournament by taking on Jones County Junior College at 1 p.m. in Monday’s first-round men’s action at the Davis Event Center on the campus of Itawamba Community College.
The EMCC-JCJC men’s contest will be televised live by Jones County Junior College on www.jcjc.tv. Airtime will be 12:55 p.m. Monday.
The winner of Monday’s EMCC-JCJC game will meet the winner of the Pearl River-Northwest Mississippi opening-round matchup Wednesday at 3 p.m. in semifinal-round action. Monday’s other first-day men’s pairings have defending state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast taking on host Itawamba at 6 p.m., followed by an 8 p.m. meeting between Holmes and Hinds.
Head coach Mark White’s EMCC Lions, two-time defending NJCAA Region 23 champions, most recently had their 16-game winning streak snapped with this past Thursday’s 68-67 road setback at Coahoma Community College. The three-time MACJC North Division champions enter postseason play at 19-3 overall after putting together an 11-1 division mark. In addition to the Lions going after their 20th victory of the season, White will also be bidding for career win No. 100. The former Mississippi State assistant owns a five-year career mark of 99-40 (.712) with the EMCC Lions, including a composite 71-15 (.826) record over the last three seasons.
The Bobcats of Jones County Junior College are 12-11 overall and hold down the MACJC South Division’s No. 3 seed after a 6-6 division mark during the regular season.
Though the two teams didn’t meet on the hardwood this regular season, EMCC swept the Bobcats last year with a pair of six-point victories over JCJC. The Lions tipped off the 2010-11 campaign with a 98-92 win in Ellisville and then completed the sweep four weeks later with a 92-86 overtime triumph over the Bobcats in Scooba.
On the women’s side, head coach Sharon Thompson’s 7-16 EMCC Lady Lions finished in a fifth-place tie within the MACJC’s North Division standings at 4-8, leaving the East Mississippi women out of the state tournament field for the first time since 2006-07.
Tuesday’s opening-round women’s action will have defending state champion Copiah-Lincoln taking on Northeast Mississippi at 1 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. matchup between Holmes and Jones County. The first-round night session will see host Itawamba meeting East Central at 6 p.m., followed by the 8 p.m. nightcap pitting Pearl River and Coahoma.
Wednesday’s tournament semifinals will feature women’s contests at 1 and 6 p.m., with men’s matchups scheduled for 3 and 8 p.m.
Thursday’s championships will be played at 6 and 8 p.m.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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