Gallatin, Tenn. - The Northeast Mississippi Community College men's basketball program achieved something that it has never done before during the inaugural road trip of the 2018-19 campaign.
The Tigers claimed their first-ever win in school history at Volunteer State (Tenn.) Community College with a 94-76 decision on Monday, November 12 at the Pickel Field House.
"I feel real good," said Northeast head coach Cord Wright. "We got what we wanted out of the game. We got off to a good start, which was key, and then we were able to kind of sustain some runs and get some stops. I was pleased all the way around."
Northeast had previously lost tightly contested seven and five-point games in both 2014 and 2016 at the Pioneers' home venue. But this version of the Tigers left little in question with a strong second half surge.
The Tigers, who are ranked No. 25 by Street & Smith's in its preseason poll, took a two possession lead over Volunteer State into the locker room at 41-35 behind 11 first half points from DeAnthony Tipler.
George Stanberry actually brought the Pioneers to within 43-40 just over two minutes into the final half following a three-point make. However, Northeast did not allow Volunteer State (1-4) to get any closer than that.
Felix Hayes got the Tigers going by scoring seven consecutive points for his team over a span of just one minute and six seconds. His trey that was assisted by Tipler increased Northeast's advantage to 50-42 at the 15:30 mark.
Jalen Perkins put the Tigers ahead by double digits moments later with an offensive rebound and putback. He then started a critical 7-0 run by Northeast at the midway point of the half with a make from beyond the arc.
Jordan Temple had a big steal and lay in on the opposite end of the floor during that stretch. JaQuante Bell capped the spurt with two free throws to put the Tigers up 68-52 with 9:27 remaining in the contest.
Northeast (2-0) took its largest lead of the entire matchup at 94-73 with less than one minute to go following a three-pointer from Thomas Cain that was set up by a nice pass from the hands of Tipler.
Tipler topped the Tigers with a team-best 22 points, including a 7-of-12 showing from the floor and a 5-of-6 ledger at the free throw line. It was the second straight double figure performance of his initial year at Northeast.
Hayes was sensational as well with his second career double-double of 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. His only other such outing was a 10-point, 10-board effort in a victory by the Tigers at Itawamba Community College last season.
"We had a good week of practice so we had to carry it over," Hayes said. "Our focus level was 10 times higher than what it usually is. I really think everybody had a nice overall game. Everybody has their feet under them."
Perkins rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Tigers and barely missed a double-double himself with 18 points plus nine rebounds. Bell added nine pivotal points, including seven from the charity stripe.
Northeast never trailed in the contest and actually built a double-digit advantage at one point in the first half. A free throw by Temple gave the Tigers a 28-16 lead before the Pioneers temporarily got back into the game before the intermission.
The Tigers held a very impressive plus-20 edge in rebounding over Volunteer State. Northeast recorded 19 assists on 28 made field goals and had a stellar 85.3 percent success rate on its free throw attempts.
Northeast returns home for the final time before the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 15 to welcome Martin Methodist (Tenn.) College's junior varsity squad. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum.