East Mississippi basketball posts season sweep of Holmes


East Mississippi Commu­nity College’s basketball teams completed regular-season sweeps of Holmes by holding on for a 78-76 overtime home win over the Bulldogs in men’s play and posting a decisive 64-46 women’s road victory during Thursday’s MACCC action.

In their first game action in a month, the 13th-ranked EMCC men ex­tended their current winning streak to seven consecutive games with Thursday’s narrow triumph over Holmes at Keyes T. Currie Coliseum. The Lions’ most recent compe­tition had been Dec. 13 with their 61-56 road win over then-No. 16 Shelton State prior to the semester break. Last week’s post­ponement of EMCC’s scheduled Jan. 6 road game against Copiah-Lin­coln is set to be made up Saturday (Jan. 15) after­noon in Wesson.

During their 2022 playing debut, the Lions trailed for most of the first 13 min­utes against Holmes. After reclaiming the lead late in the opening half, EMCC owned a slim 37-35 edge at the halftime break.

The Lions maintained their advantage through­out most of the second half, extending the margin to as many as 11 points (61-50) by the 5:47 mark when Blake Butler scored nine straight EMCC points during a two-minute stretch.

EMCC continued to hold a double-digit lead (63-53) after two more free throws by Butler, before the Bull­dogs went on an 11-1 run over the final three min­utes of regulation to tie the game. A couple of in­opportune turnovers and a shot clock violation by the Lions down the stretch helped contribute to Holmes scoring the last nine points of regulation to send the contest into over­time.

The Lions were able to regroup following regula­tion and proceeded to score the first five points of the extra session on a But­ler three-pointer and Kevin Henry’s full-court drive to the rim. EMCC maintained the lead throughout over­time, though the Bulldogs were able to cut the final deficit to a basket with Caleb Campbell scoring five of his team-leading 29 points during the game’s last eight seconds.

Coach Billy Begley’s EMCC Lions improved to 10-2 overall and 3-0 in MACCC play with their seventh consecutive win dating back to Nov. 18. Butler led all scorers with a career-high 31 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, including 5-of-11 from beyond the three point arc, and 8-of-8 accu­racy from the charity stripe. Brandon Deravine followed with a season-high 13 points off the EMCC bench, while Henry and Nick Walker added 10 points apiece for the win­ners.

Dropping to 5-9 overall and 1-4 within the confer­ence, Holmes was led by Campbell’s 29 points. Jor­dan Brister followed with 17 points off the bench for the Bulldogs on 4-of-5 three-point shooting.

In women’s action played at Frank Branch Coliseum in Goodman, the visiting Lady Lions never trailed during the contest. Shakira Wilson’s three-pointer closed out the first-quarter scoring with EMCC on top, 19-9.

On her way to 14 first-half points, Wilson opened the second quarter with her third trey and finished off the first-half scoring with a full-court drive to the rim to enable EMCC to double up the Lady Bull­dogs, 32-16, by the half­time break.

The Lady Lions main­tained their comfortable double-digit lead through­out the second half, though Holmes managed to trim the deficit to 14 points a couple of times during the third quarter on baskets by Sha’Toria Vigne.

EMCC’s margin grew to as many as 22 points (58-36) on Jada Odneal’s fourth-quarter triple en route to the visitors set­tling for the 18-point road victory to improve to 6-6 overall and 3-1 in MACCC play.

Coach Sharon Thomp­son’s EMCC Lady Lions were led by Wilson’s 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Kyunna Thomas registered her seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Siarra Jackson approached a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds for the winners.

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