Tyrie Wooten hit three straight free throws with 10.7 seconds remaining and the A&M-Commerce Lions held defensively to squeak out an 83-82 win over West Texas A&M on Saturday at the First United Bank Center.
The win, coupled with a loss by Cameron, bumps the Lions (17-8, 6-7 LSC) into sole possession of fifth place in the conference standings with one game to play. It also marks the first time the Lions have picked up a win over the Buffaloes (10-15, 2-11 LSC) in Canyon since the 2005-05 season.
The Lions trailed by four points with less than 2:30 to play after Miles Gatewood's fourth three-pointer of the game, but LaDon Carnegie hit a pair of foul shots with a minute to go. Then, after a defensive stop, Wooten was fouled on a three-point try from the left corner and proceeded to hit all three shots to put A&M-Commerce up 83-82.
"Tyrie (Wooten) is the guy we want in the line in that situation," A&M-Commerce head coach Sam Walker said. "We've got a really good foul shooting team, but in that situation, there is nobody else we would want on the line. He got there, and made them when it counted."
West Texas A&M had one final chance with less than six seconds to play, but turned the ball over without getting a shot attempt.
Devondrick Walker finished with 24 points on the night, including five three-pointers, to lead all scorers in the game. Carnegie added 22 points, and Wooten's game-wining foul shots gave him 11 points for the game.
The Lions hit a dozen triples on the game, but hit just 11 of 17 foul shots on the game, despite hitting their final five. West Texas A&M came into the game ranked at the bottom of the league in free throw shooting, but hit 23 of their 32 tries, and added 11 threes of their own.
Keon Pledger led the Buffs with 19 points, and Antwan Ball pulled in a game-high 15 rebounds.
Carnegie put in 13 of his 22 in the opening half, but the Lions still found themselves down 41-36 at the break. The Buffs hit 13 of their 15 foul shots in the half and got 13 points from Pledger, while owning a 19-13 lead on the glass.
The Lions held narrow two-point leads on two occasions in the opening period, with the last one coming with just under four minutes to play. In all there were 11 lead changes in the game, with the score being knotted up nine times.
The Lions have one game remaining on the slate, when they host nationally-ranked Tarleton State on Saturday in a game that will serve as Senior Night for the Lions' six-member senior class.