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MBB-D2: East Central Tigers (15-10) at Henderson State Reddies (12-13)

After its most dominant performance of the season, Henderson State will look to make it five wins in a row when the East Central Tigers come to the Duke Wells Center Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m.
Henderson’s offense was cooking Thursday night, defeating the GAC’s third best team by 34 points, 106-72, marking HSU’s second largest margin of victory over a conference opponent in the GAC era. In addition to all 12 men on the roster scoring, five Reddies finished in double figures, led by Franck Kamgain with 19 points along with five assists and five rebounds.
Zyon Patterson and KJ Stewart each logged their season highs in points, with Patterson going for 17 while Stewart recorded 16. Malik Riddle (11) and Josh Mason (10) were the other two players to reach double digits, while Riddle pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season along with four assists and one block.  
During this four game winning streak, Henderson has shot the ball extremely well. Thanks to a 49.2 field-goal shooting percentage and 44.7 percent from beyond the arc over the last 160 minutes of basketball action, the Reddies now sit tied for sixth in the GAC standings – just one game back of Saturday’s opponent, the East Central Tigers.
In this season’s first meeting with ECU in Alva, Oklahoma, the home team claimed victory, 73-53. Henderson struggled to generate much offense that day, hitting on just 38.8 percent (19-49) of its field goal attempts while making 16.7 percent (2-12) of its threes. The Reddies have fared much better at home against the Tigers, with their last loss in Arkadelphia in the head-to-head series coming on Feb. 10, 2018.   
Similar to Henderson, East Central appears to be playing its best basketball of the season right now, sporting a three-game winning streak, including wins over the GAC’s second-place team, Southern Arkansas, and third-place Southeastern. Most recently, the Tigers defeated Ouachita Baptist across the street, 72-64.
Keyon Thomas and Quinton Johnson II are responsible for a large portion of ECU’s offense as the only two players in double digits, scoring 13.0 and 12.8 points per game, respectively. During this winning streak, Johnson II has averaged 16.3 points per outing while shooting 48.6 percent from the field. The Tigers’ forte is their defense as they own the nation’s 31st-ranked scoring defense at 65.8 points per contest.
East Central is currently in fifth place at 10-9 in GAC play while standing just one game out of fourth. On the other side, ECU is also just one game out of seventh. Two of the Tigers’ final three games are on the road, where they are 7-4, with their season finale coming at Oklahoma Baptist. The orange-and-black are one of five conference teams with a winning record both on the road and at home.

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