Lions roar past Mustangs 73-46 in NEA Tournament action
After a slow start, Manila pulled out the long-range artillery and roared past Buffalo Island Central to claim a 73-46 victory in the first round of the 65th annual Northeast Arkansas Invitational Basketball Tournament Wednesday night at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.
The Lions, who avenged an earlier season loss to the Mustangs, fell behind 15-4 in the first period, but fought back to pull within 18-14 at the end of the break. Manila finally got even at 26-26 at the 3:34 mark of the second quarter on a long-range three pointer by senior Zack Day. The Lions grabbed their first lead of the game seconds later with another trey by Day and extended their lead to 35-28 by halftime.
Brady Jones, who led the Lions with game high 24 points, scored 11 in the second period to help Manila's cause.
The Lions put the game out of reach in the third quarter, outscoring BIC 16-6 to take a 51-34 advantage heading into the final frame.
Day also finished in double digits, scoring 12 points, all on three pointers. Five different players combined to nail 11 treys on the night for the Lions. Manila was also strong from the foul line, hitting 10-12 free throws on the evening. Scott Eubanks also finished in double figures with 12 points. Dillow Burrow tallied eight while Dylan Bogle and Garrett Baker scored six points apiece. Blake Carr netted three while Zack Reinhart and Ryan Halford contributed two points apiece.
Nick Bollinger and Dilynn Strickland led BIC with nine points each while Josh McCormick added eight. Jeremy Smith scored six, Brandon Lairsey netted five while Gunnar James, Logan Dewitt and Alex Field tallied three points apiece.
"We are pleased with the win, but not the way we got started," said Lion Coach Bill Taylor. "We finally started making a few shots, and picked it up a little defensively, but that was not a very good defensive effort by us in the first half. We were a little big-eyed and jelly-kneed early. We were a little nervous and we finally settled down."
"It's hard to beat a team when they knock down 11 three pointers on you," said BIC Coach Garrett Eoff. "When they hit 11 three's, they are going to be hard to beat, and they hit them with five different guys. That's a lot of different players stepping behind the line," said Eoff.
The victory improved the Lions to 9-4 on the year as Manila advances to play top seeded Westside Monday, Dec. 26, at 6 p.m.
The loss drops the Mustangs to 13-7 on the year. BIC will return to action Jan. 3, when they travel to Rector to take on the Cougars in a 2A-3 conference tilt.