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TIGER ATHLETICS: Wins by Tiger & Lady Tiger Basketball Over HSU

December 6, 2015

BASKETBALL (W): MARSHALL, Texas (12/5/15) - Will and determination became the difference in the game late in the fourth quarter as East Texas Baptist University held off Hardin-Simmons University, 78-77, in their first American Southwest Conference women's basketball game. HSU took the lead 58-57 with 6:32 left when ETBU answered on a 7-1 run in a minute and half and never lost the lead again. ETBU is now 6-2 overall and 1-0 in the ASC.

"It's great to win a game like that where it is so close and comes down to the wire," says head coach Edsel Hamilton. "We have been stressing mental toughness a lot and I think our kids really showed resilience to stay with it."

April Leonard once again led the team in scoring with 24 points while Lauren Lee netted a career-high 18 points. Taylee Alexander posted 11 rebounds and two blocks. HSU's Kourtney Holyfield finished with 32 points.

Heading into the fourth quarter it was a close battle as ETBU held a two-point advantage, 49-47. ETBU went on a 6-2 run for a six-point lead, 55-49, as Leonard scored four of the six points in those two minutes. That's when HSU answered with a 7-2 run taking the momentum and a one-point lead, 58-57, in just over two minutes. With 6:32 left, HSU had the one-point lead for about 12 seconds when Ambrosia Woodard nailed a three-pointer to retake the lead, 60-58. ETBU never lost the lead again. ETBU would move it to a 64-58 lead on two Lee free throws and then had a seven point lead, 68-61, with 2:51 left to play on an Alexander lay up. In the final minute and a half, HSU's Holyfield hit three straight three-pointers to pull the Cowgirls within one, 75-74, with 18 seconds left. Leonard was fouled with 13 seconds left and made both free throws for a three-point lead, 77-74. HSU cut the lead to two swooshing one-of-two free throws but the Leonard hit one-of-two free throws with five seconds left for the three-point lead. HSU missed a three-pointer with two seconds left but tipped in the two-point basket as the buzzer sounded.

ETBU led the entire third quarter and had as large as a nine-point lead, 40-31. With 3:23 left, HSU came within two 42-40 on two free throws but ETBU extended their lead to five, 46-41, with four straight points from Woodard. HSU fought back tying the game at 47 but two Leonard free throws with five seconds left put ETBU up two heading into the fourth quarter.

"We fought really hard in this game and traded basket for basket a lot but we came out with the win in the end," says Woodard.

In the first half, ETBU took a 12-4 lead in the first three and a half minutes of the game. Leonard had five of the 12 points while Malaisia Chisholm, Cekret Davis, and Lee all scored. HSU came alive at that point and went on a 9-2 run to pull within one, 14-13, with 4:08 left to play. Leonard canned a three-pointer to make it 17-13 but by the 1:04 mark HSU tied the game at 17. With 33 seconds left, Kaitlyn Packett came in and ended the quarter with a three-pointer for a three-point lead, 20-17.

HSU put together a strong second quarter and took the lead, 29-28, with 2:03 to go. Delia Hopkins made two free throws at the 1:39 mark which started a 7-0 run to end the half as ETBU took a 35-29. In that time, Hopkins had six of the seven points scored.

Overall in the game, ETBU shot 44 percent and made 29 percent from the arc and 79 percent from the free throw line. HSU shot 36 percent from the floor, 39 percent from three-point land, and 72 percent from the strip. Both teams had 39 rebounds and ETBU turned the ball over 14 times but had five blocks.

ETBU will host Louisiana College on Thursday, December 10th, at 5:30 p.m.

BASKETBALL (M): MARSHALL, Texas (12/5/15) - A second half surge by the East Texas Baptist University offense of 57 points put them past Hardin-Simmons University, 90-75, in their American Southwest Conference opener. With the win, ETBU moves its home winning streak to 24 games dating back to the 2013-14 season.

ETBU improves to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Hardin-Simmons goes to 4-4 and 1-1 in ASC games. Trailing by a 35-33 margin at halftime, ETBU made improvements across the board in its field-goal, 3-point and free-throw percentages during the second half to come away with the win.

A second-half spurt was crucial for ETBU as it converted 10-straight shots from the floor, going from a 49-46 edge to a 73-59 advantage. In the final half, ETBU shot 60.6 percent from the field (20-of-33), 78.6 percent from the foul line (11-of-14) and hit a half dozen 3-point shots. Additionally, ETBU finished with nearly twice as many assists as turnovers in the second half (11-to-6).

"We came in knowing that it'd be a hard fight, and the first half we really found that out, but we were able to rally together and get it done," said Eric Horton.

Junior Mitchell led all players with 24 points, 17 of them coming in the second half. He shot eight-of-13 from the floor and converted three 3-point shots. Mitchell also had four rebounds and five assists. Dylan Augustine contributed 17 points, including four 3-point baskets, to go along with two rebounds and three assists.

Horton finished with 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. Jamil Samuel had eight points as well as 11 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Off the bench for ETBU, Isaiah Thomas hit six-of-eight shots from the field and chipped in 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Jordan Quillian added eight points and four assists.

For Hardin-Simmons, Justin Jones totaled 15 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Christian O'Neal had 21 points while Nathaniel Jack contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds. Cameron Barnes chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.

In the opening half, Hardin-Simmons held a 14-point lead with 4:55 until the break after a successful 3-point shot by Barnes made the score 31-17. Ahead by a 13-10 margin nine minutes into the game, Hardin-Simmons went on an 18-7 run for that 31-17 advantage. During that spurt, O'Neal hit a pair of 3-pointers, while Caleb Spoon and Barnes also contributed a 3-point shot apiece.

Down the stretch, however, ETBU began to whittle away at its deficit and closed the first half on a 16-4 run to trail, 35-33, at the halftime buzzer. In this span, Augustine, Horton and Samuel combined for all 16 points. Augustine hit three 3-point shots, while Horton contributed five points during the run.

Later on in the second half, ETBU held a slim 46-44 advantage before pulling away. During a stretch of 10-consecutive successful shots, ETBU converted four-of-four 3-point baskets. Five ETBU players combined for 24 points, including eight by Thomas, six by Mitchell and five by Horton.

For the day, ETBU shot 48.6 percent from the floor (34-of-70). Conversely, Hardin-Simmons hit 35.1 percent of its field-goal attempts (26-of-74), including 10-of-41 3-point shots (24.4 percent). Hardin-Simmons edged ETBU in rebounding, 44-to-42.

Up next for ETBU is a home game against ASC opponent Louisiana College at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.