East Central (Okla.) led from start to finish in defeating Wayne State Collge 89-76 Friday evening at the Bison Crossover Men’s Basketball Challenge in Shawnee, Oklahoma. WSC falls to 0-4 on the year while it was the season opener for the Tigers.
Wayne State never led in the contest. The ‘Cats trailed 19-9 just 6:30 into the game. WSC closed within two at 21-19 following an Al’Tavius Jackson 3-pointer with 9:42 to go before halftime.
The ‘Cats were still within three at 30-27 after a Henry Penner layup with 5:10 left before intermission.
But East Central went on a 12-2 run to take a 42-29 lead and finished the first half leading 43-34.
East Central built a 17-point lead (64-47) with 11:47 to play, but Wayne State made one last charge at the Tigers and got as close as four points at 66-62 following a Nate Thayer layup with 8:36 remaining.
The Tigers then responded with eight straight points to push the lead back to 12 at 74-62.
WSC pulled within six one last time at 79-73 following a Jackson trey with 4:32 to play but East Central missed just two shots down the stretch and went 6-6 at the line to stave off the Wildcats 89-76.
East Central made 29 of 59 shots in the game for 49.2 percent and was just 3-10 from the 3-point line. The Tigers held a commanding edge at the free throw line going 28-34 compared to just 14-23 for WSC.
The Wildcats shot 44.3 percent from the field making 27 of 61 shots. WSC made 8 of 18 behind the arc.
Sophomore center Jordan Janssen led WSC with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Al’Tavius Jackson scored 18. Nick Ferrarini also hit double digits with 13.
East Central held a sizeable 40-29 edge in rebounding while both teams had 13 turnovers.
Janssen handed out six assists and had three steals in the loss.
Wayne State meets Oklahoma Baptist Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the final game of the Bison Crossover Challenge.