Vance, Brunson lead Tigers to season-opening win

Vance, Brunson lead Tigers to season-opening win

Northeast Mississippi Community College sophomore guard Acie Vance made sure the Tigers did not lose his sophomore season opener. 

Vance, a Ripley native, finished with a team-high 21 points as Northeast knocked offEast Central 88-83 in the season opener for the Tigers.

East Central fell to 0-3 on the year – suffering all three defeats to North Division teams – Northeast, Holmes and Coahoma.

After trailing most of the game, Vance and transfer KeDorian Sullivan made the move for the Tigers.

With just over eight minutes left in the game, Hakeem Wesley connected on a three-pointer to give the Warriors a 76-67 lead but East Central went ice cold from the floor after Wesley's trifecta -- hitting just three more field goals the rest of the way. 

As East Central was cooling off, Vance and the Tigers were warming up.

Vance, who led the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) in scoring last year with 17.7 points per game, tallied 10 points in the final eight minutes to lead the Tigers to the five-point win.

Vanceelectrified the crowd with just over seven-and-a-half minutes to play when the Ripley native tallied a pair of old-fashioned, three-point plays that tied the game both times.

Vance's first three-point play knotted the game at 76-76 as the sophomore knocked down both the hoop and the harm and following a Jamere Eichelberger three-pointer for East Central, Vance wasted little time in making it a 79-79 contest.

Following Vance's second three-point play, Northeast outscored East Central 9-4 in capturing the contest.

Northeast trailed as much as nine in the second half (Wesley's three-pointer) but Ladarius Waits gave the Tigers their first lead of the second half when thetransfer swished the second of a two-shot foul with just over three minutesremaining.

Tyler Brunson, who finished with 19 points including a aerial dunk during the first half, made it a three point game for the Tigers with a make off an East Central turnover and Keldrick Lesley pushed the lead back to three at 86-83 with his jumper in the waning moments.

Vance, who spearheaded the 20-7 run to end the game, capped the contest with a pair offreebies for the final score.

Earlier in the contest, Malcolm Hamilton kept the Tigers within striking distance as the Atlanta, Georgia native teamed with Vance and Brunson to rally Northeast.

After Welsey's deuce gave the visitors an 11-4 advantage early on, Hamilton, Vance and Brunson went on a 10-0 run.

Vance cut the deficit to 11-5 with a freebie while Brunson and Hamilton picked up theslack in the latter stages of the run.

Back-to-back buckets by Brunson made it an 11-9 game and Hamilton's two-pointer three-fourths of the way through the first half knotted the game at 11-all.

Hamilton gave the Tigers their first lead since 1-0 when the sophomore transfer connected on a three-pointer off an assist by Sullivan.