CLINTON, Miss. – Down one with 2:56 left in the first half, East Texas Baptist University outscored Mississippi College (6-9/4-8), 10-2, for a seven-point advantage at the half as they never gave up the lead again earning the American Southwest Conference win, 88-77. ETBU has now won two games in a row and move to 6-9 on the year and 4-8 in the ASC.
Five players led ETBU in double figures as four players shot over 50 percent in the game. Amanda Rucker, who has led the team in scoring three out of the last four games, had 16 points and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the foul line. Sade’ Murrell kept her hot streak going in scoring with her second consecutive double figures game adding 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. April Leonard posted 13 points while Jasmine Davis added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kelly Johnstone rounded out the scoring with 10 points hitting three three-pointers. Mississippi College’s Alexu Stirgus had 21 points to lead all scorers.
Mississippi College played their best ball in the first half taking a five-point lead, 24-19, with 7:40 left in the half. ETBU scored five straight over a minute and a half to tie the game at 24 on a layup from Rucker and a Johnstone three-pointer. After Mississippi College hit two free throws, Kendall Festervand gave ETBU the one-point lead on a three-pointer, 27-26. Each team exchanged buckets with the last bucket by Murrell who gave ETBU the one-point lead, 29-28, with 3:45 left in half.
A minute later, Mississippi College’s Carey Crozier sank two free throws for a 30-29 lead. That was the final lead for the Choctaws as ETBU finished the final 2:56 on a 10-2 run for a seven-point lead at the half, 39-32.
Murrell started the run with an and-one conversion at the 2:34 mark for the two-point lead. With 2:16 left, Johnstone nailed another three-pointer to make it 35-30. Mississippi College’s only bucket in this time came with 1:06 left on a layup but 24 seconds later Rucker banked in a layup for the five-point lead. Kayla Morgan finished out the run with 17 seconds remaining for the seven-point lead, 39-32.
ETBU pushed the lead to 11, 45-34, just over two minutes into the second half on a Davis shot. Mississippi College came within five, twice, and then had the lead down to four, 71-67, with 3:17 left. At this point, ETBU finished the game on a 21-6 run for the 11-point win, 88-77. In that run they took their largest lead of 14, 81-75, on two free throws by Slim Stewart.
ETBU shot 50 percent overall and made 60 percent of their shots in the second half. They made 47 percent of their three-point shots and 63 percent of their foul shots. Mississippi College finished shooting 45 percent from the floor, 40 percent from the arc, and 70 percent from the stripe. They also held the rebounding edge over ETBU, 39-36, but turned the ball over 20 times that turned into 30 points for ETBU.
ETBU travels to Pineville, La., to face Louisiana College on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.