Columbia, Tenn. – Brian Alexander's constant reminder to his Northeast Mississippi Community College basketball team to play strong defense showed clearly on Monday night.
The Lady Tigers held Columbia State Community College without a basket from three-point range in a 72-63 win at the Webster Athletic Center.
"I was excited about that," said Alexander, Northeast's third-year headman. "Overall, it's a win on the road and that's not easy. We'll take it any way we can get it."
Overall, opponents are connecting on just 17.2 percent of shots from behind the arc against the Lady Tigers, which is sixth best among National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) members.
While Columbia State (3-9) was missing from long range, Northeast used the trey to its advantage and gained its first double-digit lead.
Jasmine Allen hit two shots from downtown in a matter of three minutes to aid in a 9-2 run by the Lady Tigers. Ragin closed the scoring spurt with a layup to put Northeast ahead 29-18 with 3:11 remaining in the first half.
The Lady Chargers edged closer to the lead with baskets by Lamarra Gordon and Anika Nottingham over the final two minutes of the period to trail 32-26 at the break.
Aushiana Ivy took over after the break, however, to kill any momentum that Columbia State might have had. The freshman recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds during a dominating second half.
"She really took over for a minute," Alexander said. "She is an all-league player. She's going to continue to get better. That's the wonderful thing about her. I look forward to watching her progress."
A Gordon field goal got the Lady Chargers back within two points of the lead with 13:06 to play, but Northeast used a 17-4 run from that point to put the game away.
Ivy scored ten points in the four-minute stretch and finished with 18 to go with 13 rebounds. It is the third double-double in six games for the Tupelo native.
Three other Lady Tigers joined Ivy in double figures, including Allen (13), Riddle (12) and Daisha Williams (11).
Nottingham scored 28 points and added 15 boards and Gordon dropped in 17 for the Lady Chargers.
(M) Columbia State 85, Northeast 53
The Chargers started the contest with a hot shooting hand and kept it throughout the matchup on a cold evening in middle Tennessee.
Columbia State made five of its initial six shots to take a quick 12-2 advantage. A Kendrick May basket brought the lead to 23-6 with 13:18 remaining till halftime.
The Tigers (2-6) would respond, though, and cut their deficit within eight on a big three-pointer by Marcus Hogan in the corner.
Cameron Shorty's basket with 2:27 left made it 36-28, but Northeast could not take advantage of four Charger turnovers in the closing moments before the half.
Columbia State led 38-28 at the intermission and expanded that score by holding the Tigers to just eight points in the beginning 10 minutes of the second to put the game away.
A Ladarius Waits field goal ended an 11-0 run by the Chargers in that time frame that gave them a 20-point lead. Northeast could not recover despite some strong play from Ben Seely and Dimario Jackson down the stretch.
"We spotted a really good team 15, 16 points and then decided to play," said Tigers head coach Cord Wright. "Then we came out in the second half and we thought we were going to have some energy and we were flat again. We'll make some adjustments."
Columbia State remained undefeated at 11-0 and finished with a 50 percent shooting percentage from the field and at three-point range.
Five Chargers hit double figures, headed by a 15-point effort by TJ Dunans. Matt Smith and Justin Pride scored 14, while Uros Benacek added 13 and Ikeem Bergeron-McLendon tallied 11.
Waits put in the best outing of his sophomore campaign for the Tigers in the loss. The Olive Branch High School graduate notched season bests in points scored with 11 and minutes played with 21.
"I felt like he played hard, aggressive and took it to the rim. Things we need to get from him," Wright said. "It's good when you've got another guy to go to."
Jackson led Northeast with 12 points. It is the fourth time this season that the Brusly, La., native has headed the Tigers' scoring efforts.
Al Azulphar poured in another solid performance with eight points and 10 rebounds in the post.
Northeast has the remainder of the Thanksgiving holiday off and will hit the hardwood again on Monday, December 2 against Gadsden State Community College. The doubleheader tips off with women's action first at 5:30 p.m. inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum.