HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The East Mississippi Community College men's basketball team surrendered a five-point halftime lead in dropping a 72-69 road decision to Wallace State-Hanceville Saturday afternoon at Tom Drake Coliseum.
In their final game action heading into the Christmas break, the visiting Lions built a 21-11 lead midway through the opening half when Mitch Storm and Josh Skinner combined to score 10 unanswered points. EMCC maintained its advantage the remainder of the half and took a 34-29 lead into intermission.
After a 3-pointer by sophomore David McFarland put East Mississippi on top by six points (44-38) early in the second half, Wallace State ran off seven straight points to take a brief one-point edge as the midway point of the half approached.
Following a pair of subsequent ties, the home-standing Lions scored seven unanswered points to move ahead, 62-55, with 3:36 remaining. Wallace State then extended the margin to seven points (66-59) two minutes later en route to posting the three-point win. EMCC's Skinner hit a 3-pointer at the game-ending buzzer to account for the final outcome.
Wallace State improved to 6-6 on the season with its fifth consecutive victory since losing at East Mississippi, 83-55, back on Nov. 21. Jaylen McCoy paced the winners with a season-high 25 points.
Slowed by 15 second-half turnovers in the rematch against Wallace State, head coach Billy Begley's EMCC Lions fell to 5-4 overall for the year. McFarland led the way for the visitors with 22 points, including 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, while Thomas recorded his second double-double of the season with 14 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.
The EMCC basketball teams will return from the holiday break to take on Meridian Community College on the road, Jan. 5, in a men's/women's hoops doubleheader. East Mississippi will then play host to East Central Community College on Jan. 10 at EMCC's Keyes T. Currie Coliseum. A 5:30 p.m. women's game will be followed by a 7:30 p.m. men's contest on the Scooba campus.