East Central knocks off Itawamba 75-66

By By Austin Bishop/The Meridian Star
Jan. 5, 2001
DECATUR In a split second East Central Community College point guard Joe Copeland turned nearly five minutes misery into one of the biggest plays of the game.
Visiting Itawamba Community College outscored ECCC 10-0 during the aforementioned stretch in the second half to turn a 45-38 deficit into a 48-45 lead, only to have Copeland break loose for a long-range three pointer to tie it with 12:07 to play in the game. He was fouled on the play and knocked down the free throw to convert the unusual four-point play.
East Central regained its momentum at that point and went on to win the game 75-66 on Thursday night behind some strong free throw shooting down the stretch.
Earlier in the night the East Central women downed Itawamba 71-56.
Despite Copeland's four-point play, the visiting Indians from Itawamba didn't go away in the men's game.
In fact, ICC regained the lead on three occasions and the game was tied at 64-64 with 3:20 to play. The Warriors scored 11 of the next 13 points to take the win.
Baskets by Copeland and Matthew Roebuck stretched it out to 68-64 and from there East Central took care of business from the free throw line.
The Warriors, now 8-5 on the year, held a 26-21 lead midway through the first half, before Itawamba rallied to tie the game. But East Central managed to slip into the locker room at the half with a 34-32 advantage.
Itawamba came into the game with an 11-2 record, and Bowen said the Indians helped his team prepare for the tough South Division.
Copeland scored 18 points for ECCC in the win over Itawamba, while James Denson hit for 13 and Markeith Brown and Winfred Craig scored 11 each. Charles Slaughter scored 16 to lead ICC, while Trent Vaughn hit for 15 and Shun Jenkins scored 11.
There were 47 fouls called in the game, with 31 of those coming in the second half. Both teams were in the double bonus with more than 10 minutes left in the game.
ECCC Women 71, Itawamba 56: The Lady Warriors broke open a close game late in the first half and managed to maintain a double-digit lead for most of the game on the way to the solid win.
ECCC is now 10-2 on the year with the win. Veteran East Central coach Sammy Pace said his team showed the effects of a month-long layoff at time, but on other occasions played pretty well.
ECCC led 25-21 with just under five minutes to play in the half, but scored 12 of the last 14 points to go up 37-23 at the half.
ICC cut it to nine points at 59-50 with 6:15 left in the game, but could get no closer.
Nicole Cox led East Central with 18 points, while Anna Udicova had 17 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots. Nikki Lacour was also in double figures for the winners with 11.
Keela Ball led 7-7 ICC with 19 points.