Lions rally to keep hoops record perfect
A&M-Commerce's quest for a 6-0 start to the 2013-14 season seemed in serious jeopardy early in the second half as the Lions found themselves trailing Dallas Baptist by 13. But once again, another second half rally pushes A&M-Commerce to victory as the Lions outlast the Patriots 72-67 at the Field House.
With the victory, A&M-Commerce improves to 6-0 on the season, marking its best-ever start under head coach Sam Walker. The last time the Lions started a season 6-0 was the 1953-54 campaign as A&M-Commerce is off to the third-best start in program history.
Another balanced attack helped pave the way for the win as four Lions scored in double figures, led by 19 points from Kameron Price who added six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Tyrie Wooten finished with 16 points, three rebounds and a pair of assists while LaDon Carnegie notched 12 points and four rebounds for A&M-Commerce.
Christian Macauley posted his first career double-double in a Lion uniform, finishing with 10 points and 13 rebounds while notching a season-high four blocks on the night. Eddie Leal recorded eight rebounds and four assists to complement his three points while De'Andre Carson matched the output, dishing out four helpers on the night as well.
A&M-Commerce has thrived from the three-point line all season and the Lions certainly felt comfortable shooting the long ball against Dallas Baptist. Of the Lions' 69 shots from the floor on the night, over half of them (36) came from beyond the three-point arc. A&M-Commerce hit 12 of those attempts, shooting 33.3 percent for the game, and hit just 36.2 percent of its shots on the night (25-of-69), compared to 45.5 percent (25-of-55) for the Patriots.
What helped turn the tide in the Lions' favor was those 14 extra field goal attempts as A&M-Commerce pulled down 21 offensive rebounds compared to just six for Dallas Baptist. The Lions outrebounded the Patriots 48-32 on the night while holding 7-3 advantages over DBU in both blocks and steals to help seal the comeback.
As the game commenced, the Lions were sluggish in their field goal attempts and Dallas Baptist took advantage, racing out to a 13-point lead at 24-11 with 8:10 remaining in the opening half thanks to a 14-0 run over A&M-Commerce. But as it would do all night, the Lions responded with a run of their own, outscoring the Patriots 16-3, tying the game at 27-27 just two minutes later.
But the Lions were never able to reclaim the lead in the first half as Dallas Baptist would lead by as many as five before taking a 38-34 lead into halftime.
Dallas Baptist once again used an extended scoring surge and tallied the first nine points of the second half, racing out to another 13-point lead at 47-34 with 15:38 remaining in the contest. Trailing by 11 at 56-45 midway through the second half, A&M-Commerce seemed unfettered, however, using a 10-0 run to pull to within one at 56-55, followed by five-straight points by Carnegie to tie the game at 61-61.
Those points were part of an 11-0 run that spanned just over a minute as A&M-Commerce reclaimed the lead at 66-61 with 3:25 to play, giving the Lions their first lead since an 11-8 advantage early in the first half. Dallas Baptist would respond with a 6-0 tilt of its own, reclaiming the lead at 67-66 with 1:53 to play.
But spurred on by another large crowd at the Field House, it was the Lions that made the key plays that mattered in the final minute. A lay-up by Carnegie, followed by a pair of clutch free throws by Price and Macauley, coupled with some big defensive stops turned the tide in A&M-Commerce's favor over the final 60 seconds as the Lions held on for the 72-67 victory.
A&M-Commerce has now won three-straight against Dallas Baptist, improving to 13-7 all-time against the Patriots. Walker improves to 3-1 against DBU in his tenure as the Lions' head coach, including a 2-0 mark at the Field House, improving to 22-6 all-time against Heartland Conference opponents.
The Lions now have a nine-day break, including the Thanksgiving holiday, before returning to action with a two-game Arkansas road trip. A&M-Commerce returns to the court in Magnolia, Ark., on Friday, November 29th, facing Southern Arkansas in the back end of the teams' home and home series. The Lions then make the short trip north to face Henderson State in Arkadelphia on Saturday, November 30th.