Southern Arkansas led most of the way, but East Central managed to rally for a 61-55 win in Great American Conference action Saturday at the Kerr Activities Center.
The outcome left a logjam at the bottom of the league standings, with the Tigers, Muleriders, Arkansas-Monticello and Southern Nazarene all sitting at 2-4 in conference play.
ECU (5-7, 2-4 GAC) got a pair of double-doubles from Colby Carr and Jason Williams, with Carr getting 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Williams scoring 10 and pulling down 10 boards. De'Mario Fountain added 12 points.
Junior forward Nigel Jones (Wadley, Ala.) led SAU (5-6, 2-4) with 14 points and six rebounds. Junior forward Duke Reed (Houston, Texas) scored eight points off the bench. Southern Arkansas suffered its third straight loss.
The Muleriders led the whole first half, save a 4-2 deficit early, and more than half the second frame, but couldn't hold it.
They commanded a 25-19 advantage at the break after taking a 21-14 lead with five minutes left.
East Central opened the second half on an 8-0 run, taking a 27-25 lead on Fountain's jumper at 17:38.
SAU bounced back, outscoring the Tigers 16-8 over the next nine minutes for a 41-35 margin at 8:28.
ECU kept whittling away though, eventually taking the lead for good at 5:44 on a three-pointer from Miles Mitchell for a 44-42 game.
Southern Arkansas pulled to within 48-47 on senior guard Daviel Clements' (Jesup, Ga.) three-pointer with four minutes left, and were down only 56-53 on junior guard Darrin Johnson's (Chicago, Ill.) trey at 1:02.
The Muleriders missed their next three shots though, while East Central hit one and three free throws. Reed's lay-up with four seconds left made the final margin.
SAU's 55 points was its lowest total of the season. They lost it at the free throw line, hitting just 9 of 22 for 40.9 percent. They hit 40.4 percent from the floor on 21 of 52.
The Tigers shot 37.3 percent from the field on 22 of 59 and were 13 of 23 on free throws.
Rebounds were even at 40 apiece. Southern Arkansas suffered 18 turnovers to ECU's 13.
The Muleriders play their final non-conference game of the season Thursday, hosting Champion Baptist in a 7 p.m. tip-off at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center.
SAU opened the season with a 100-66 win over Champion Baptist in Hot Springs.