Texas A&M University-Commerce puts its undefeated record on the line when it heads east for a two-game post-Thanksgiving road trip to Arkansas. The Lions open up the weekend facing Southern Arkansas at 7 p.m. Friday in Magnolia before heading north to Arkadelphia for a showdown with the Reddies at 7 p.m. Saturday evening.
Scouting the Muleriders
2013-14: 2-3 overall, 0-2 Great American Conference
Last Three Games: L vs. Southwestern Oklahoma (76-68), L vs. Northwestern Oklahoma (70-66, OT), W vs. Baptist Bible College (91-42)
Head Coach: Andy Sharpe (Reinhardt, 2002). Second season at Southern Arkansas (13-19, .406)
Key Mulerider Players:
• #32 Jeffrey Walker (So., F): 18.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 66.7 FG%, 47.4 FT%, 7 ast., 5 blk., 8 stl.
• #23 Alre'k Brown (Jr., F): 15.0 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 69.0 FG%, 54.8 FT%, 2 ast., 18 blk., 3 stl.
• #4 Quintin Lee (Jr., G): 11.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 41.7 FG%, 40.9 3FG%, 50.0 FT%, 6 ast., 5 stl.
• #12 Nemo Sanchez (Jr., G): 10.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 34.5 FG%, 35.9 3FG%, 50.0 FT%, 5 ast., 4 stl.
• #15 Tyrell Taylor (Jr., G): 7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 41.4 FG%, 14.3 3FG%, 56.5 FT%, 28 ast., 3 blk., 7 stl.
Synopsis: Southern Arkansas has posted a 2-3 record on the season, going 1-2 since a 92-86 defeat at A&M-Commerce on November 13th. The Muleriders notched a convincing 91-42 victory over Baptist Bible College before stumbling out of the gates in Great American Conference play, falling at home to Northwestern Oklahoma (70-66, OT) and Southwestern Oklahoma (76-68). Southern Arkansas is averaging 82.2 points per game and has hit an impressive 48.6 percent of its shots from the floor, including 31.2 percent from three-point range. But the Muleriders have struggled from the free throw line, connecting on just 60.2 percent of their attempts.
Series Information: A&M-Commerce and Southern Arkansas get together for the 36th time Friday evening with the Lions hold a 23-12 edge in the all-time series. The Lions have won 11 straight against the Muleriders dating back to the 2005-06 season and are 15-2 all-time against Southern Arkansas since head coach Sam Walker took over the program in the 2000-01 season. Walker is 6-2 all-time against the Muleriders in Magnolia, Arkansas. The Lions defeated Southern Arkansas 92-86 back on Nov. 13, building a commanding 20-point halftime lead before holding off a late Mulerider rally.
Scouting the Reddies
2013-14: 4-3 overall, 1-1 Great American Conference
Last Three Games: L vs. Delta State (62-60), W at East Central (75-67), L at Southeastern Oklahoma (65-62)
Head Coach: Doug Nichols (Texas A&M, 2005). Third season at Henderson State (34-27, .557)
Key Reddie Players:
• #3 Melvin Haynes (Sr., G): 14.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 35.6 FG%, 24.1 3FG%, 87.1 FT%, 18 ast., 4 stl.
• #5 Deoirvay Johnson (Sr., G): 14.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 53.6 FG%, 52.0 3FG%, 81.3 FT%, 10 ast., 4 stl.
• #35 Taylor Smith (Jr., F): 12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 49.1 FG%, 56.5 3FG%, 73.1 FT%, 20 ast., 3 stl.
• #23 Ronald Lawson (Jr., F/C): 9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 50.9 FG%, 47.1 FT%, 8 ast., 11 blk., 6 stl.
• #1 Reggie Murphy (Jr., F/C): 8.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 53.5 FG%, 44.0 FT%, 2 ast., 2 blk., 5 stl.
Synopsis: Henderson State sits at 4-3 on the season and 1-1 in Great American Conference play through the first seven games of 2013-14. The Reddies are coming off a 62-60 defeat to Delta State in their home opener Tuesday evening after splitting their GAC openers, falling at Southeastern Oklahoma 65-62 before toppling East Central 75-67. Henderson State enters Saturday's game averaging 76.3 points per game, shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from three-point range. The Reddies hold a slim rebounding edge over their opponents, pulling down 37.6 per game while averaging 5.6 steals and 2.9 blocks per game.
Series Information: Saturday marks the 21st all-time meeting between A&M-Commerce and Henderson State with the Lions holding a 12-8 edge in the series, including a seven-game winning streak dating back to the 1995-96 season. The Lions and Reddies last met in 2011-12 with A&M-Commerce prevailing 85-81 at the St. Edward's Invitational in Austin. Walker is 3-0 all-time against Henderson State, winning once at the Field House, once in Arkadekphia and once at the neutral site in Austin.
Lions on the Web
Lion fans can stay up-to-date on every A&M-Commerce point this weekend as the Lions take on Southern Arkansas and Henderson State. KETR 88.9 FM will carry the game live with Charlie Chitwood on the call, and will be streamed online at KETR.org. Live stats of both games will also be available at MuleriderAthletics.com (Southern Arkansas) and HSUSports.com (Henderson State). There will be no live video provided for either game.
Second Half Surge Leads Lions Past Patriots, 72-67
A&M-Commerce's quest for its first 6-0 start since the 1953-54 season seemed in serious jeopardy against Dallas Baptist last Wednesday night as the Lions trailed the Patriots by 13 in the second half. But A&M-Commerce responded once again with another strong second half rally, edging Dallas Baptist 72-67 at the Field House. Four Lions finished in double figures, led by Kameron Price's 19 points. Tyrie Wooten added 16, LaDon Carnegie finished with 12 and Christian Macauley notched 10 points and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double. What helped turned the tide for A&M-Commerce was 14 extra field goal attempts, thanks in large part to a 21-6 advantage in offensive rebounds for the Lions as A&M-Commerce notched its third-straight victory over Dallas Baptist, improving to 3-1 against the Patriots under head coach Sam Walker.
A Start For The Record Books
With the 72-67 victory over Dallas Baptist Wednesday evening, A&M-Commerce improved to 6-0 to start the season, its best-ever start under head coach Sam Walker. It marks just the fourth time in program history the Lions have started off a season 5-0 or better, and each of the previous three yielded great season results. A&M-Commerce's best start was a 10-0 run to begin the 1947-48 season, en route to an LSC title and an appearance in the NAIB District Playoffs. The 1953-54 team started 8-0, advancing all the way to the NAIA quarterfinals while the 1954-55 team began the year 5-0 - the same season the Lions captured the NAIA national championship.
Lions Strong Against Arkansas Opponents
A&M-Commerce has found a great deal of success against teams from the state of Arkansas in recent years, a streak that head coach Sam Walker hopes to continue into the 2013-14 season. The Lions have won 16 of their last 17 games against teams from the Natural State dating back to the 2008-09 season. During that run, the Lions are 7-0 against Southern Arkansas, 3-0 against Henderson State and 3-1 against Ouachita Baptist while posting a 1-0 mark against Arkansas-Fort Smith, Arkansas-Monticello and Harding. In his career against teams from the state of Arkansas, head coach Sam Walker has posted a mark of 28-10 (.737), highlighted by a 15-2 record against the Muleriders.
Walker Against the Great American Conference
A&M-Commerce head coach Sam Walker has historically fared very well against Great American Conference opponents as the Lions' head man has compiled a 65-24 (.730) record against current GAC members. Walker has seen his most success against East Central (15-1) and Southern Arkansas (15-2), while also winning at least 10 games against both Southeastern Oklahoma (13-5) and Southwestern Oklahoma (10-8). A&M-Commerce has four games scheduled against Great American Conference schools in 2013-14 as the Lions will play home-and-home series against both Southern Arkansas and Henderson State.
A&M-Commerce continues its four-game road trip with a pair of games inside the DFW Metroplex next week. The Lions make the trip to Cedar Hill for the program's first-ever game against Northwood on Tuesday, Dec. 3, tipping at 7 p.m. A&M-Commerce then completes the home-and-home series against Dallas Baptist on Friday, Dec. 6 when the Lions and Patriots tip-off from the Burg Center at 7 p.m.