East Central stuns Hounds late

CNJ staff

ADA, Okla. — Senior guard Tyler Thetford converted a 3-point play with 18 seconds left on Sunday, boosting East Central to a 60-58 Lone Star Conference men’s crossover victory over Eastern New Mexico University.

The Tigers (2-4), held to a season scoring low after coming into the weekend averaging just over 95 points a game, held the Greyhounds (2-7) to 21 second-half points in erasing a 37-23 halftime deficit.

Thetford finished with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for East Central. Reserve Cory Nicholson added 11 points while foward Justin Wilkerson had 10.

Junior guard Aaron King came off the bench to score 11 points for ENMU, which lost its second two-point decision in two days after falling at Southeastern Oklahoma 44-42 on Saturday. Forward Equus Darby added 10 points.

East Central’s Cody Williams hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cap an 8-0 run and stake the Tigers to an 18-10 lead with 13 1/2 minutes left in the first half. ENMU then closed out the half on a 27-5 surge — including 15 consecutive points to turn a seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead — and finished out the half with a 14-point cushion.

East Central went nearly 12 minutes without a field goal before Thetford’s layup produced the first points of the second half with 18:12 left. The Hounds went more than five minutes without scoring at the start of the half, but still led 41-28 with 14:15 to go after consecutive baskets by guard Justin Reynolds.

East Central trailed by 10 with under eight minutes left, but went on a 13-3 run to pull even on Wes May’s layup with just under two minutes to go. Guard Jimmie Marshall put the Hounds back in front twice with baskets before Thetford took a feed and scooped a shot up from the left side of the lane, converting the go-ahead free throw after he was fouled by Marshall.

ENMU’s Brandon Wilson missed a potential go-ahead jumper, then after an ECU free throw he was off the mark on a desperation 3-pointer as time expired.