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MCC Eagles drop one to Bevill State

By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 16, 2001
A dreadful first half put the Meridian Community College Eagles into such a deep hole that it proved too difficult to escape. Bevill State took advantage grabbing a 74-61 road victory here Saturday night at the Ivy Sports Center.
The loss drops the Eagles to 8-6 heading into the Christmas break. MCC won't play again until Jan. 7 when Alabama Southern visits. Bevill State, out of Jasper, Ala., left town with a 7-4 record.
For MCC Head Coach George Brooks, it may have been better had the Eagles gone on to holiday rather than to stick around to play Bevill.
Poor shooting helped put the Eagles in a bind. They went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal in the first half. In that span, Bevill turned a 14-12 game into a comfortable 35-18 cushion with 3:32 to play in the first half.
A Robert Ivy 12-footer finally broke the Eagle drought at the 2:59 mark. It was only his second basket of the half.
Bevill hit another spurt doubling up the Eagles at 44-22 following two free throws by Chris Campbell with 11.8 seconds left in the half. The lone consolation for MCC was a three-pointer by Korey Moore at the horn to make it 44-25 at the break.
In all, MCC was just nine of 32 (28.1 percent) from the floor in the first half. The defense wasn't much better as Bevill consistently got entry passes into the Eagle defense which led to easy scores.
The second half saw Meridian shoot better and the defense picked up as well. The Eagles opened with an 11-2 run to climb back into the game at 48-36 following a three-point play by Justin Turner.
Another basket by Turner, followed by two free throws from Ricardo Kelly helped trim the gap to seven at 51-44 with 13:56 to play.
But 30 seconds later, Ivy picked up his fourth foul on an offensive charge and the play seemed to stop the Eagles momentum.
It was still an eight-point game at 57-49 following a trade of threes from Bevill's Marcus Jemison and MCC's Sammie Cole.
But once under 11 minutes, Bevill's Campbell took over. He and Jemison were two of the top prep players out of Birmingham two years ago.
They showed why. Campbell, a 6-1 sophomore guard, scored 10 of the next 13 Bear points to keep Bevill up by 11. He would finish with a game high 30 points.
Meridian would get it to nine for the final time at 79-70 following a basket by Victor Temple. Bevill responded by making four free throws in the final minute to salt it away.
Jemison chipped in 23 points while Emmitt Thomas had 10,
Kelly led MCC with 16 points. Moore had 12. Cole, Ivy and Joey Wade each had 10.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at jbyrd@themeridianstar.com.

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