From ECU Sports Info.
Teri LaJeunese, Sports Information Director

COMMERCE, TEXAS – After having nine days off for finals, the East Central University men’s basketball team dropped a tight battle to Texas A&M-Commerce, 88-89, in non-conference action.

The Tigers (5-3, 3-1 GAC) were led by senior Stirling Thomas, who tallied 35 points, including eight triples. Junior Ishmael Donzo added 14 points and a team-best seven rebounds, while junior Donovan Halsel garnered 11 points and junior Aly Hudgins 10.

ECU jumped out to an early advantage in the opening two minutes of the half, going up 7-2. The Lions then battled back within two (9-7) over the next minute, with a 5-2 run. That is when things started to heat up for the Tigers, as they used a 12-3 run over the next four minutes to lead by 12 (22-10).

TAMCU was not done fighting and used several runs through the half, including a 13-2 run, to pull within two (35-33), with five minutes left in the first half. They kept battling over the next three minutes before taking their first lead (39-40) since the opening minutes of the half. The teams traded points through the rest of the half, with ECU earning the final points to take a 43-42 advantage into the locker room.

The second half started with a 6-0 Lion’s run to give them a 48-43 lead. The Tigers fought back and quickly tied the game and the teams traded shots until ECU had a 54-43 lead, with 16 minutes to play. TAMCU then rattled off a 5-0 run over the next minute to regain the lead (54-58).

That is when the Tigers started to take control, using a 13-4 run over the next three minutes to lead 67-62. ECU held on to the lead until just under seven minutes remained when the Lions tied the game a 74. It was a back and forth battle for the rest of the game, with the Lions pushing ahead by four (83-87) with 40 seconds left.

Junior Braxton Reeves hit a triple to cut the deficit to one and then Hudgins stole the ball and ended up getting an offensive rebound and put back to put ECU up 88-87, with 13 seconds left. The Lions made a quick push up the court and hit a floater in the lane with 1.3 seconds left to earn the 88-89 victory.

Both teams had strong nights shooting, with ECU hitting 45.2 percent of its shots and TAMCU 55.1 percent. The teams were almost even in all other statistical categories except a 2-10 deficit for the Tigers in blocks.

ECU will continue its busy week, Wednesday, Dec. 16 when they travel to UTSA for an exhibition game at 11:30 a.m. The week ends with the annual Field Trip Day for local 5th graders at the Kerr Activities Center. The Tigers host Southwestern Adventist at noon, Friday, Dec. 18 for the third-straight season.

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