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Monsters Hold Off Yavapai


For the second time this season, the Eastern Arizona College men's hoops team eked past an ACCAC opponent in the closing seconds. On Nov. 30, the Gila Monsters edged then second-ranked Cochise 92-90, and Wednesday night, Eastern (12-5, 6-3) topped the Yavapai Roughriders, 77-75, in dramatic fashion at Guitteau Gymnasium. With seven seconds remaining, Ervin Youmans put in an alley-oop pass from Gabor Boros that broke up a 74-74 tie. Jerryck Owens-Murrey iced the game with three seconds remaining when he made free throw to garner the victory for Eastern. in the final eight minutes of the game, the Monsters and 'Riders engaged in six ties and 11 lead changes, but with 1:21 left and EAC trailing 72-68, EAC head coach Tim Parmeter was pleased with the demeanor he saw from his team. "What I was impressed with the most is that in a timeout — when were down four with a minute to go — there weren't any heads down," Parmeter said. "We didn't quit, and the guys were saying, 'Let's go get a stop and take charge of this.' "This is a heck of a win," Parmeter said. "(Yavapai) is a good basketball team." In the second half, Eastern reached a 12-point advantage on three occasions, the last came on a Jeff Wilson slam dunk that gave EAC a 47-35 lead with 16:50 remaining.

Wilson has drastically improved his overall intensity and offensive output since the Christmas break, and it showed against the Roughriders.

Wilson was outstanding all night long for the Gila Monsters as he ended the game with a game-high 23 points and grabbed 13 boards. Heading into Wednesday's game, Wilson was shooting a Shaquille O'Neal-like 37-percent from the foul line, but drained 11 of 16 shots from the charity stripe, which helped the 6-foot-8 freshman keep his confidence up for the rest of the game. "When I hit my free throws, I start to feel really good," Wilson said. "My teammates have been patting me on the back saying, 'You can do it, you can do it,' and it has helped a lot." "(Wilson) has been buying into what we've been doing, and he has been really solid," Parmeter said. "His effort in practice has been a lot better, and he's really taken advantage of his opportunities." Youmans finished with 18 points for Eastern, Owens-Murrey tallied 14, and point guard Terry Dunlap was the fourth Monster in double figures with 11 points. This was the fourth consecutive game the Gila Monsters have had four players score in double figures. Eastern held a 36-29 halftime advantage, and despite building a twelve point lead in the early in the second half, Yavapai utilized a 13-3 run to tie the game at 50 with 11:43 remaining. "The only problem was that, once again, we had a double figure lead in the second half, and we've blown it," Parmeter said. "We really need to stop doing that." Before tipoff, Marcus Palmer was a question mark for EAC with a sore ankle, and, even though Palmer scored only four points, he was solid in other aspects "that don't always show up on the stat sheet," Parmeter said.

With a log-jam near the top of the ACCAC standings, Eastern helped get some separation (three games) from Yavapai and remains only one game away from second place in the conference. "It really boosts our confidence because in the past we've lost a couple games in a row," Wilson said. "When we get a win like this — it's really big." Eastern travels to South Mountain (7-9, 2-6) on Saturday for its next league game. "We just need to keep winning at home, on the road and at neutral sites," Parmeter quipped.

Lady Roughriders 91, Lady Monsters 66 Eastern's Lady Gila Monsters won its first contest of the season against on the road against Pima on Saturday, but the friendly confines of Guitteau Gymnasium were not as kind to EAC on Wednesday when Yavapai beat the Monsters, 91-66. Yavapai had its offense rolling early in the first half against Eastern as the Roughriders started the game with a 13-1 run. The Lady Monsters closed the gap when it used an 8-0 run to pull within four points (19-15) with 11 minutes remaining in the first half. A three-pointer by Christina Brito brought EAC within three points, but, from that point on, Yavapai ran away with the game. "We made a run and got within three, and then you look up again and we were down 12 or 15," EAC head coach Dan Dersam said.

Yavapai led, 44-29, at the break and by 30 points (87-57) with 3:05 remaining in the game. "There are a very, very good club and have a lot of size and quickness," Dersam said. "We just couldn't handle them inside, and when we did box out we got into foul trouble." Ariana Nazario and Leah Jones shot the ball very well for Eastern, and finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Jones and Nazario each scored 12 of their points in the second half, with Nazario draining three shots from beyond the arc and Jones adding a pair of threes.

Andy Hansen, Sports Editor

Eastern Arizona Courier