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 February 8, 2013

BOONEVILLE, Miss. –  Northeast Mississippi Community College men and women’s basketball teams split their final non-division doubleheader at Bonner Arnold Coliseum on Thursday, February 7.

Brian Alexander’s Lady Tiger team knocked off Wallace State-Hanceville 55-51 in the opener while David Robbins’ Tiger basketball team saw Missouri State University-West Plains rally from a 12-point deficit early for a 68-62 win over the Tigers in the nightcap.

With the non-division games out of the way, Alexander and Robbins look to four North Division affairs to wrap up the 2012-13 regular season.

Northeast travels to East Mississippi on Monday, February 11 before returning to Bonner Arnold Coliseum for a Valentine’s night date with Coahoma Community College on February 14.

A trip to Holmes on Monday, February 18 sets up sophomore night in Booneville as Northeast hosts Mississippi Delta Community College on Thursday, February 21.

Alexander and crew sit just a half-game out of the top spot in the North Division after Itawamba fell to Northwest (78-71) on Thursday, February 7 while Robbins’ Tigers are a half-game out of the pivotal top four in the North Division that advance to the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament.

In the opener against Wallace State-Hanceville, the Lady Tigers saw LaTonya Gadison go for a team-high 24 to lead Northeast to its eleventh win of the year.

Gadison’s 24 helped propel the Lady Tigers to the four-point win that saw six of the seven Lady Tigers in the box score register in the scoring column.

Tupelo’s Antionette Riddle, Mantachie’s Shrita Dixon and Natchioches, Louisiana’s Talisa Boyd all finished the game with nine points apiece for the Lady Tigers.

“I am proud of these young ladies for again displaying the mental toughness necessary to respond under adverse conditions,” said Alexander.

With the win, the Lady Tigers have won six of their last seven contests and extended their record at Bonner Arnold Coliseum to 7-2. Northeast is also 6-2 since the calendar flipped to 2013.

In a nip-and-tuck game, Northeast took the final lead of the night with 15:43 left in the contest on a Dixon three-pointer but Wallace State-Hanceville kept it close down the stretch.

Northeast pushed the lead out to 48-38 just eight minutes later when Gadison hit for two with 7:56 showing however, the Lady Lions would steadily chip away at the Lady Tiger lead.

After Gadison’s make, Northeast could not find the range and only hit one field goal for the remainder of the contest – a Gadison make with 1:48 to go.

Wallace State-Hanceville made it a 52-51 game late but Northeast’s defense would come up strong and force back-to-back turnovers out of Nance and Morgan Pearson to seal the game.

While Northeast was cold in the latter portions of the second half, Wallace State-Hanceville could not find the range during the entire game from beyond the arc – finishing 0-for-11 from three-point range.

While the Lady Lions were having trouble finding their range, in the nightcap, Northeast guard Acie Vance took little time in settling in from beyond the arc.

Vance sank his first three-pointer less than 30 seconds into the contest and nailed four in the first six minutes as the Tigers raced out to a 12-point lead on the visiting Grizzlies.

Vance opened up the game 5-for-5 from the floor – including a 4-for-4 showing from beyond the arc – and 3-for-3 from the charity stripe…after being fouled on a three-point attempt while pushing the Tigers to a 17-5 advantage with 13:48 left in the first half.

While Vance was hitting from distance, the Grizzlies (17-9) were biding their time and waited until the second half to make a move.

Northeast kept its distance with Missouri State University-West Plains at the half as Keldrick Lesley connected on a jumper for an 11-point advantage at the break 36-25.

However, Missouri State University-West Plains rallied for a 43-point second half in taking the 68-62 victory.

Missouri State University-West Plains made its move with less than seven minutes to go in the game.

After Malcolm Hamilton’s three-pointer re-established a one-point lead for the Tigers at 55-54 with 7:39 left, Northeast would only tally seven more points the rest of the way. Ian Burress accounted for three of the seven with a trio of free throws while KeDorian Sullivan and Johnnie McGhee both hit buckets in the final 7:39.

While Northeast was going cold from the floor, the Grizzlies were heating up and ended the game on a 14-7 run.

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