The Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions erased a 20-point deficit in the second half, only to see Angelo State's Bryan Hammond go the length of the court for the game-winning layup with just 4.1 seconds left to edge the Lions 67-65 on Sunday afternoon at the Junell Center.
The Lions (12-3, 1-2 LSC) trailed by as much as 20 points with 16:07 to play, but capped the comeback when Devondrick Walker drained a three-point bucket from the top of the arc with just 10 seconds remaining in the game. But the Rams (11-3, 1-1 LSC) immediately inbounded the ball to Hammond, who drove the length of the court on his own and finished with a layup high off the right side of the glass to put ASU back on top 67-65 with 4.1 seconds to go.
A&M-Commerce called a timeout and got the ball to freshman De'Andre Carson, who went the length of the court on his own, but his shot at the buzzer just missed off the rim as time expired.
Walker finished with a team-high 19 points and three triples, while Tyrie Wooten joined him in double figures with 15 points, playing the final eight minutes carrying four personal fouls. Cameron Blue also turned in a solid game, getting the start and putting in nine points and four rebounds.
In all, the Lions shot just 34.5 percent from the floor and 5-for-19 from beyond the three-point arc, but was 22-for-25 from the charity stripe as a team, helping to negate a 45-33 ASU advantage on the glass.
Kenny Williams led the Rams with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Hammond finished with 15 points and three assists. Chris Talkington added 11 points, including four key foul shots in the final two minutes, and Thomas Brandsma had 11 points, all in the first half.
After trailing by 14 points in the opening period, the Lions found themselves down 50-30 on a highlight-reel dunk by Williams on a fast break. But after the teams went nearly two minutes without any offense, Walker knocked in a jumper to begin a 10-0 Lion run that cut the lead in half.
The Lions kept chipping away, drawing to within two points at 55-53 on a three-pointer from Wooten to cap a 23-5 run A&M-Commerce. But from there the Lions were not able to get all the way past the Rams, who got big buckets from Reggie Sutton and Hammond, and foul shots from Talkington to stay up three with less than 20 seconds to play. That just set up Walker, who knotted things up with just 10 seconds left before Hammond's heroics.
A&M-Commerce had their worst offensive half of the season in the opening period, hitting just 29.6 percent from the floor and scoring 26 points – its lowest first-half scoring output of the year – as the Rams held a 40-26 lead at the break. ASU opened things up on a 12-4, with seven of those points coming directly from Kenny Williams.
They got no closer than three points in the opening period after a bucket from Donavon Gage and a three from Walker made it 12-9 with 11:56 to go in the half, but that was immediately answered by a 10-3 ASU spurt that pushed the lead to double digits.
The Rams canned six threes in the opening half, including all three of Brandsma's tries from behind the arc in an 11-point period. The Lions countered with seven points apiece from Walker and Wooten, but were hindered by allowing 10 offensive boards to the Rams.
A&M-Commerce will try and re-square its Lone Star Conference record on Wednesday when it travels to Lawton, Okla., for a meeting with Cameron. Tip time is set for 8 p.m.