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ASC Men's Basketball Tournament: Mississippi College Defends ASC Title, 83-63
March 1, 2003

Courtesy East Texas Baptist University Sports Information Office

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MARSHALL, Texas (3/1/03) -- Mississippi College entered the 2003 American Southwest Conference Men's Basketball Championship this weekend as perhaps the decided underdog in Ornelas Gymnasium. They left Saturday as two-time defending ASC champions.

The Choctaws (19-7), powered by a defense that never allowed McMurry to get into a shooting rhythm, opened up an early lead and never trailed on the way to an 83-63 win in ETBU's Ornelas Gym. The win sends gives MC its second straight ASC tournament championship and sends the Choctaws into next week's NCAA Tournament as the ASC representative.

Pairings for the NCAA tourney will be announced on the NCAA Web site Sunday, March 2 at 8:00 CST.

McMurry, which shot 61 percent from the field in a 98-93 upset of host ETBU Friday night, ends its season at 18-9.

Mississippi College was led by 17 points apiece from Tracy Phillips and Nick Paige. Robert Green added 12.

McMurry was paced by 18 points off the bench from Michael Qualls, 13 points from Juan Muniz and 12 from Eddie Love.

For the game, the Indians shot 40 percent, while MC finished at 44 percent. The Choctaws also pounded the Indians on the boards, finishing with a 47-34 rebounding edge.

MC held a 37-26 lead at the half and finished with a 46-37 run in the second half to cruise to the title.

The all-tournament team was announced following the game. Included on the all-tournament team were Rod Ceasar of East Texas Baptist, Rockland Owens of Sul Ross State, Juan Muniz and Kelon Lewis of McMurry, and Chad Smith, Robert Green and MVP Tracy Phillips of Mississippi College.

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