Jakorie Smith scored 22 points and Nick Walker grabbed 14 rebounds Thursday night, but East Mississippi Community College dropped a 70-65 game to Northwest Mississippi at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum.
EMCC and Northwest battled through seven ties, including a 33-33 halftime deadlock that came about following double-digit runs by both teams during the opening half. London Taylor scored eight points during a 12-2 Rangers run that gave the visitors a 19-10 lead midway through the half.
Slowed by 8 turnovers during the game’s first 12 minutes, the Lions later overcame an 11-point deficit by scoring 11 unanswered points, including 6 straight points by Smith, to knot the score at 28-28 with 2:24 remaining in the first half.
Following intermission, the teams played through three more ties before Northwest scored eight consecutive points to move ahead, 51-43.
As they did in the opening half, the Lions battled back to forge two additional deadlocks midway through the second stanza. Following consecutive put-back baskets by EMCC on the heels of two Danny Washington steals, Blake Butler‘s three-point play at the 12:00 mark tied it at 52-52.
A minute later with the score tied at 54-54, the Rangers went on a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead for good. The Lions pulled to within six points at 69-63 on a Butler 3-pointer with 2:37 left. Following a two-minute scoring drought by both teams, EMCC could then only manage to cut the deficit to four points on a Nick Walker putback with 24.1 ticks remaining.
EMCC received double-double efforts by forwards Smith (22 points, 10 rebounds) and Walker (12 points, 14 rebounds). It was the 14th double-double for Smith in his career and the sixth for Walker.
Isaiah Gainesscored 18 of his team-high 20 points after halftime to lead four players in double figures for Northwest. Joseph Cooper was next with 15 points, followed by Ethan Pickett and Taylor with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
EMCC (1-1) will resume MACCC play Monday at Holmes before competing in Vincennes University’s McDonald’s Classic, Nov. 12-13 in Indiana, where the Lions will meet the host Trailblazers at 6 p.m. Friday before taking on preseason No. 6 John A. Logan College at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Coahoma 65, East Mississippi 50: The Tigers led from wire to wire to pin the first loss of the season on the Lions.
After taking a 38-27 halftime lead, the Tigers did not let the Lions get closer than 10 points the rest of the way. Two free throws by Markiema Lancaster pulled EMCC within 11 at 61-50 late in the game, but the Lions did not score during the final three minutes.
Shakira Wilson led EMCC with 11 points. DJ Williams followed with 9 points, and Siarra Jackson contributed 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Coahoma displayed balanced scoring with five players scoring between nine and 12 points, led by Tiara Abron’s dozen, Nakia Cheateham with 11 and Brayland Ferguson with 10.
The Lions (1-1) will travel to Northwest Mississippi for a Monday game before returning home to host Itawamba on Thursday. Tip-off time for the EMCC-ICC women’s game is set for 5:30 p.m. at Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus.