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EAC News

11/27/2004

Thanksgiving Classic - Day 1

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The first day of the Eastern Arizona Thanksgiving Classic did not disappoint those in attendance as they witnessed two excellent basketball games. The opening contest saw Central Arizona hold off Otero 75-72.

Central led from the start building an early 11 point lead only to see Otero quickly close the gap before the break. At half CAC led by five, 38-33. The second twenty minutes again saw Central push the lead to double figures before Otero mounted another charge. The game came down to the final seconds as a three pointer by Otero rimmed out at the buzzer to give Central a 75-72 victory.

Central placed four players in double figures led by Willie Shaw's 16 points. Gerald Bryant scored 13, Travis Suber added12, and Michael Radonovich chipped in with 10. Otero was led by Nic Fuller who scored a game high 17. Darnell Kirkwood and Mario Mackey added 15 and 13 respectively.

The excitement of the first game was topped in the nightcap as it went to overtime before visiting Howard College outlasted host Eastern Arizona 64-63.

The game was made up of a series of runs by both teams. The game started with Eastern jumping to a 15-2 lead midway through the first half before Howard surged back closing the gap to just two at the break, 24-22. Howard started the second twenty minutes with another quick run, taking the lead 30-26. The next ten minutes saw EAC again dominate the contest, outscoring Howard 29-9 to push to a 55-39 advantage. The dominance however could not be sustained as Howard came storming back to take a four point lead with just under a minute to go. Eastern managed to fight back with a field goal by Brad Smith and David Williams to tie the game and send it to the extra period.

In overtime, EAC scored first and led until Howard converted a three point play with just over four seconds to play, taking a 64-63 lead. After two timeouts, Eastern actually went the length of the floor for a lay-up but it went in just after the time had expired.

Eastern and Howard both placed two players in double figures on the night with EAC being led by Hrvoje Pervan's 14 and Brad Smith's 12. Howard was led by Charles Burgess's 21 points and Rashad Mintz added 16. Eastern's Brad Smith passed out a game high 7 assists and Brandon Woods pulled down 7 rebounds. The difference in the game was the free throw disparity with the visiting Howard Hawks converting on 16 of 25 while Eastern made a paltry 3 of 10.

Saturday's schedule for the Thanksgiving Classic will see Central Arizona face Howard at 5:30 with Eastern and Otero set to begin at 7:30. The EAC game can be heard live via the internet at www.swsn.net.