EMCC men and women downed by Pearl River in Thursday MACCC hoops action

Published 4:48 pm Saturday, February 4, 2023

SCOOBA/POPLARVILLE – East Mississippi Community College’s basketball teams fell to Pearl River in men’s and women’s action during Thursday’s MACCC play contested at the schools’ respective home courts. The EMCC women succumbed to PRCC’s smothering defense in being overwhelmed at home, 84-29, while the visiting Lions had their five-game winning streak snapped by dropping a hard-fought 54-52 overtime decision to the Wildcats.

In the one-sided women’s contest played at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum, the Wildcats scored the first 16 points of the game while holding EMCC scoreless until Nakeria Scales’ basket at the 3:12 mark of the opening quarter. Keshunti Nichols’ three-pointer extended PRCC’s lead to 23-2 at the quarter break.

With Brandy Scott scoring the first 11 points of the second quarter, the visitors continued to dominate the game by outscoring the Lady Lions, 31-4, in the second quarter. Jaliscia Florence’s three-point play at the 3:52 mark widened the margin to 46-2, as the Wildcats took an insurmountable 54-6 halftime advantage.

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Pearl River maintained its defensive intensity and scoring prowess throughout the second stanza en route to the lopsided 55-point outcome. In limiting EMCC to just 23 percent field goal shooting (12-52 FGs) during their defensive clinic, the Wildcats notably held their eighth opponent of the season to fewer than 40 points scored in a game.

The Lady Lions were led in scoring by Ramya King and Kennedi Jimison with six and five points, respectively.

Pearl River featured four scorers in double figures, led by 15 points from Scott and Hama’ya Fielder. Nichols and Ty’Mesha Reed followed with 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Wildcats.

In the men’s defensive battle played at PRCC’s Marvin R. White Coliseum, the home-standing Wildcats held the advantage for most of the night after jumping out to an 11-2 lead five minutes into the game on Carlous Williams’ three-pointer.

The Lions responded to PRCC’s early flurry with a 12-1 spurt that resulted in their lone lead (14-12) of the game coming on a Blake Butler basket midway through the opening half. By the end of the half, the Wildcats had built their lead back up to eight points (28-20) following consecutive made treys by Williams and Cam Brown.

Following the halftime break, Pearl River maintained a nine-point advantage (41-32) at the 7:23 mark of the second half on the heels of back-to-back buckets by Ayub Nurhussien.

Sparked by Terrell Dixon’s play off the bench, the Lions responded by scoring seven unanswered points to cut the deficit to 41-39 with five minutes remaining in regulation. Dixon helped keep EMCC within reach by scoring all 14 of his points during the second half on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.

Butler then put the Lions on his shoulders by scoring the last two baskets of regulation in acrobatic style over the final minute to knot the score at 48-48 with 20 seconds left. Both teams missed on three-point attempts down the stretch to send the contest into an extra session.

The low-scoring overtime period began with Nurhussien and Butler trading baskets within the first 30 seconds to create a fifth deadlock in the game. Following a nearly four-minute scoreless span by both teams, Dylan Brumfield hit on a driving layup and then converted on two free throws to give the Wildcats a 54-50 lead with 21 seconds left on the game clock. After Tremaine Dixon Jr.’s layup was goaltended by PRCC to cut the margin in half, Brumfield went back to the line with a chance to seal the win. He misfired on the front end of his one-and-one opportunity to give the Lions one final possession. After Jacob Reese’s defensive rebound of Brumfield’s miss with seven ticks left, Kevin Henry’s desperation three-point attempt fell short at the final buzzer.

Though tightly guarded and being held to 7-of-19 shooting from the field on the evening, Butler still managed to score a game-high 18 points and pull down nine defensive rebounds for EMCC.

Pearl River was led by Williams and Brumfield with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Brown followed with 10 points.

Looking to get back into the win column, the East Mississippi basketball teams will be back in action Monday (Feb. 6) against Coahoma. Head coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions (15-3, 6-2 MACCC) will host the Tigers in Scooba, and head coach Isaiah Butler’s EMCC Lady Lions (5-10, 3-5 MACCC) are set to travel to Clarksdale for women’s action. Both contests are slated to tip off at 6 p.m.