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Five double-figure scorers pace EMCC Lions to 87-70 road win over Meridian

MERIDIAN — The Lions of East Mississippi Community College led from start to finish and had five players score in double figures to claim an impressive 87-70 road win over Meridian Community College during Saturday’s MACCC basketball action played at Graham Gymnasium.

Playing without two of their leading scorers – Jakorie Smith and Arecko Gipson Jr. – due to injury, the Lions used the three-point shot to jump out to an early 23-7 advantage.  The Eagles were also hot from beyond the three-point line in the opening half with Leondre Townsen’s back-to-back treys leading an 8-0 run for MCC to cut the deficit to eight points (23-15) midway through the half.

The rest of the first half featured additional scoring runs by both teams.  After the visitors scored 10 unanswered points, Meridian countered with consecutive 3-pointers by Horatio Parker to make it a 12-point game at 33-21.  Eight straight points by the Lions, including a pair of Hunter McCutcheon treys, increased the margin to 20 points (41-21) with five minutes left in the half.

The Eagles’ Jermiyah Brown then caught fire from the outside with a trio of 3-pointers that fueled a 17-2 MCC run that cut the deficit to just five points (43-38) by halftime.

EMCC’s eight made treys through the opening 20 minutes of play were nearly matched by Meridian’s seven triples for a combined total of 15 made three-point baskets by the intermission.

After the second stanza started in similar fashion with Justin Brown’s 3-pointer cutting EMCC’s lead to just two points, the Lions answered with an 8-1 run to go back up by nine points (51-42).  Later in the half, another McCutcheon trey and an inside basket by D’Antonio Deloach bumped EMCC’s lead back up to double digits.

Justin Brown’s trey made it an eight-point contest (65-57) near the midway mark of the second half, but that’s as close as the home-standing Eagles would get for the remainder of the game.  Six straight points by the Lions around the four-minute mark increased the advantage to 23 points (85-62) on their way to the 17-point road triumph.

Coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions improved to 5-3 overall on the season.  They were paced by their Louisville, Kentucky connection of Blake Butler and McCutcheon with 19 and 17 points, respectively.  Freshman Nick Walker followed with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Meridian native Traemond Pittman and Danny Washington added 10 points apiece.  Fellow Meridian product Makeem Roberts contributed eight points, nine rebounds and five assists for the winners.

For the game as a team, the Lions shot 56 percent (32-57 FGs) from the field overall, including 61 percent (11-18 treys) from behind the three-point arc.

Falling to 4-3 overall and having their three-game winning streak snapped, the Meridian Eagles were led by Jermiyah Brown and Zebadiah Kirkwood with 11 points each.

East Mississippi’s scheduled Monday basketball games versus Northwest Mississippi (men at Senatobia and women in Scooba) have been postponed due to Monday’s wintry weather forecast across the state of Mississippi and throughout the region.  The games will be rescheduled at a later date.