BOONEVILLE • Former Ashland Blue Devil DeAnthony Tipler is off to a hot start in his sophomore season with Northeast Mississippi Community College. Tipler led the Tigers to a 91-80 win over Volunteer State (Tenn.) Community College last Thursday, Nov. 7.
Northeast captured its sixth consecutive season opening victory, which dates back to an 88-72 home triumph over Southwest Mississippi Community College on November 3, 2014.
The Tigers built double-digit leads in both halves only to see the Pioneers (1-2) chip away. Northeast never trailed after the break, but saw its advantage slashed to just 76-74 with 2:01 remaining following a 14-4 run by Volunteer State.
But the Tigers responded by scoring eight unanswered points of their own. Jalen Perkins and Tipler made back-to-back field goals to start the spurt and give Northeast some needed breathing room.
Northeast sealed the win at the charity stripe in the final minute. The Tigers made nine out of their last 10 free throw attempts, including four off the hand of Jayven Humphrey.
“Honestly, we just hung in there,”Northeast head coach Cord Wright said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game by any stretch and we expected there to be some jitters. I’m so excited we won and I saw some positive things. We’ll build on it and get better.”
Tipler accounted for the first points of the campaign for Northeast with a three-pointer less than 30 seconds into the matchup. He reached double figures by the 15-minute mark of the opening half and eventually finished with a game-high 28 points while adding seven rebounds and four assists.
“I tried to come out and get my team going,” said Tipler. “It felt great to be back on the court in front of our fans. I think I did all right, but I’ve still got a little bit more to work on.”
Three other Tigers joined Tipler in double figures, including Campbell (N.C.) University transfer Isaac Chatman. He came close to recording a double-double with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Perkins poured in 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the floor and six rebounds in his sophomore debut. Ladarrius Spears added 11 points, including the first slam dunk of the new year for Northeast on a one-handed jam that was assisted by Chatman.
The Tigers shot 42.5 percent overall from the floor and drained seven treys. Northeast held a plus-15 margin in rebounding and totaled 18 assists, including six dimes from JonDarius Warren.
Northeast turned around to face Faith (Ark.) Preparatory Academy on Monday, Nov. 11. Tipler sparked the Tigers yet again to a huge 91-49 over the Warriors with his game-high 20 points.
Tipler and the Tigers (2-0) return to action Thursday against Wallace State (Ala.) Community College.