Gadsden, Ala. – Cord Wright's first victory as a collegiate head coach at Northeast Mississippi Community College is one that he certainly will never forget.
Marcus Hogan connected on a desperation three-pointer as the clock expired to propel the Tigers to a 79-78 win over Gadsden State Community College at the Beck Field House on Monday night.
The Tigers were down by four points with under a minute to play, but missed free throws by the Cardinals over the final 30 seconds opened the door for Northeast.
Dimario Jackson drained two shots from the charity stripe to edge the Tigers (1-1) within 78-76.
Northeast fouled on the inbounds play and grabbed the rebound after a miss on the opening attempt of a one-plus-one. Dan Blackburn, though, stole the ball and was sent to the line for two free shots.
Blackburn failed to make either try and Hogan brought in the rebound with 1.7 seconds remaining on the clock. He dribbled to near half court and launched his last ditch effort, which bounced off the backboard and through the hoop to give Northeast the win in dramatic fashion.
Hogan and Jackson both tallied 23 points to pace Northeast. The duo was a combined 7 of 9 from behind the arc while Hogan missed a double-double by one board.
Al Azulphar headed a defensive effort that limited a Gadsden State squad that notched 167 points in its season opener last Saturday. The freshman recorded 11 blocks and eight rebounds in just 21 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
Jay Watkins came off the bench and scored 25 points to lead all scorers and the Cardinals (1-1). Gadsden State, which led 37-28 at halftime, was held to 11-percent shooting from three-point range.
(W) Gadsden State 68, Northeast 57
LaTonya Gadison began her sophomore year in a dominating manner with 21 points and eight boards to spear a strong effort by the Lady Tigers in their 2013-14 lid lifter.
Northeast came as close as 60-56 with 3:59 remaining in the second half after a basket by Daisha Williams, but the Lady Cardinals ended the contest on an 8-1 run to clinch the triumph.
Taylor Adams scored four of the points in Gadsden State's final spurt and finished with 15. Lacey Buchanon added a game-best 33 points on 15 of 25 shooting.
Aushiana Ivy contributed 19 points and Williams totaled 13 to round out the double-digit scorers for the Lady Tigers (0-1).
Antionette Riddle got Northeast on the scoreboard for the initial time this campaign with a basket in the key four minutes into the competition.
It was the first contest of a tough opening stretch for Brian Alexander's club. Gadsden State (2-0) was named one of the top teams to watch in the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) Media Guide, and the Lady Tigers next opponent holds a ranking with its name.
Northeast travels to Wallace State (Ala.) Community College at Hanceville on Thursday to finish an early road trip to begin the schedule. The Tigers have a rare 3 p.m. tip, while the women face the No. 16 Lady Lions immediately following.