March 18, 2011 8:22:00 AM
HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- Battling from behind the entire contest for the second straight game, the No. 12 East Mississippi Community College men''s basketball team saw its season end Thursday in a 74-56 loss to Western Wyoming in consolation action of the NJCAA Division I Championship at the Sports Arena.
The Lions, who trailed for nearly the entire 40 minutes Tuesday in a 76-66 first-round setback to Southeastern (Iowa) C.C., fell victim to a pair of 14-0 runs by Western Wyoming en route to being eliminated from the 64th annual national tournament.
Western Wyoming (26-10) led 38-25 at halftime. Deonte Alexander hit the third of six second-half 3-pointers to help EMCC (25-5) cut the deficit to 49-42 with 10 minutes, 56 seconds remaining. That momentum seemed to slip away almost instantly as Ian Matos drove baseline for an easy basket on WWCC''s ensuing possession. The score triggered another 14-0 charge by the Mustangs that extended the lead to 63-42 with 5:09 remaining.
Alexander pumped in 11 of his game-high 23 points in the final five minutes, but the Lions never got any closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
An All-American candidate from Nashville, Tenn., Alexander was the lone EMCC player in double figures. He made seven 3-pointers in 11 attempts, and finished the tournament with 44 points in two outings. The 6-foot-1 guard completed his EMCC career with 952 career points.
Fellow All-Region performer Jonathan King followed with nine points for EMCC.