ECU men rally past Boll Weevils

Feb. 13—The East Central University men's basketball team engaged in another thrilling Great American Conference matchup, facing the University of Arkansas at Monticello on Saturday afternoon inside the Steelman Fieldhouse.

In exciting fashion, the Tigers staged a comeback from a double-digit deficit to narrowly defeat the Boll Weevils 55-53 and return to the win column.

East Central snapped a five-game losing skid to improve to 10-12 overall and 6-10 in GAC action, while the Boll Weevils dipped to 9-12 and 7-9.

Despite initially jumping out to an 8-2 lead, the Tigers soon found themselves trailing midway through as the Boll Weevils utilized a 12-4 scoring run to take the 14-12 lead. UAM maintained their lead for the rest of the first half, leaving ECU behind 31-21 at halftime.

However, with determination to come out of the hole, the Tigers chipped away at the deficit, starting with Jaden Miller's 3-pointer at the 14:37 mark to break UAM's double-digit lead. Gradually closing the gap, ECU fought over the next seven minutes until they knotted the score at 47-all with seven minutes remaining via a 3-point basket by Keyon Thomas.

As the game intensified, the score would tie on two more occasions in the final minutes. But after Godsgift Ezedinma's layup leveled the score for the last time, Keyon Thomas and Bryce Woolridge both made 1-of-2 two free throws each down the stretch and that proved to be the difference.

Monticello went 0-for-4 from the field and missed two free throws in the final 1:20 of the contest.

East Central outscored the hosts 34-22 in the second half.

Thomas and Miller led the ECU offense. Thomas recorded 17 points while Miller followed with 15. Bryce Woolridge and Nikk Williams each scored seven points, with Woolridge also adding a team-high 10 rebounds.

The Boll Weevils got 16 points from Isaac Jackson and 13 points and nine rebounds from Zane Nelson.

The ECU men's basketball team will head to Durant on Thursday to face old rival Southeastern. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. inside the Bloomer Sullivan Arena.

Note: Ada News Sports Editor Jeff Cali contributed to this report.