BUFFALO, N.Y. - March 3 - With all five starters scoring in double figures, the Erie Community College men's basketball team rallied for a 109-97 win over Monroe Community College Saturday afternoon in the Region III Tournament semifinals held at the Burt Flickinger Athletic Center. ECC will play Mercyhurst North East, which defeated Genesee Community College 99-82, at 1 p.m. Sunday.
ECC, the nation's fifth-ranked team, improved to 23-4. The Kats are the tournament's top seed.
Freshman forward Eyimofee Edukugho (Warri, Nigeria/Our Savior New American School) led the Kats with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Yandell Denis (Brooklyn, N.Y./Xaverian) added 20 points while sophomore guard Dequan Jones (Brooklyn, N.Y./Pacific) scored 17 points, 15 in the second half. Sophomore guard Brandon Emmitt (Akron, Ohio) had 16 points and seven assists while sophomore forward Uche Ogbonna (Westbury, N.Y./Hicksville) added 15 points. Following the game, Edukugho and Jones were named as first-team selections to the All-Region III team while Ogbonna was a third-team pick.
ECC trailed 35-20 with 11:26 left in the first half after a steal and dunk by Monroe CC's Jahvari Josiah. The Kats cut the Tribunes' lead to five, 46-41, on a foul shot by Edukugho with 3:19 left in the half but Monroe CC held a 53-45 lead at the break.
Jones gave ECC a 56-55 lead with a three-point field goal at 17:44 as the Kats opened the second half on a 11-2 run. Emmitt and Jones hit back-to-back three pointers to give ECC a 62-56 lead with 16:05 remaining and ECC never trailed again.
In the other semifinal, the trio of Dejuan McGaughy, Anthony Jones and Geovonte Rose combined for 65 points and 28 rebounds to lead Mercyhurst North East to a 99-82 win over Genesee Community College. Mercyhurst NE was seeded sixth in the field while GCC was the second seed.
Jones led the Saints with 26 points and 13 rebounds while Rose added 21 points and 15 rebounds. McGaughy, who was named the Region III Player of the Year, scored 18 points.
Deylon Bovell led Genesee CC with 25 points.
After the score was tied at 29 with 4:20 remaining, Jones scored five-straight points to give the Saints a 34-29 lead. The Saints held a 39-38 edge at halftime and then opened the second half on a 14-5 run to take a 53-43 lead at 15:55.