Lions tame Greyhounds, 78-71
The A&M-Commerce Lions overcame a sluggish start and never trailed in the second half, evening the season series with Eastern New Mexico with a 78-71 win over the Greyhounds Wednesday at The Field House.
The Lions (16-8, 5-7 LSC) picked up consecutive wins in conference play for the first time this season, and head into the regular season’s final two games just a game back of third place in the LSC.
Devondrick Walker led the Lions in scoring for the fourth time in the last five games with 20 points and was tied with Kameron Price with a game-high four assists. De’Andre Carson found his way into double figures for the second straight game, hitting a pair of threes and 7-for-8 from the foul line for 15 points, and LaDon Carnegie added a dozen.
Christaian Macauley added 11 rebounds for the second time in his last three outings, helping the Lions win the battle on the boards 39-36 in a game that saw them struggle from the outset, hitting just 31.8 percent from the floor in the opening half before a 13-4 run erased the ENMU (13-11, 6-6 LSC) lead and sent A&M-Commerce to the locker room up 28-26.
Rodney Blackmon led Eastern New Mexico with 15 points, but was just 5-for-18 from the floor for the night as one of four Greyhounds in double figures. But ENMU shot just 36.5 percent from the floor, just the seventh time the Lions have held an opponent under 40 percent this season, and hit just four of its 20 shots from beyond the arc after canning 10 in a 83-78 win over A&M-Commerce on Jan. 22 in Portales.
Once again the Lions used the foul line to do damage, hitting 26-for-31 from the charity stripe, including 13-15 in the opening half, a mark that was needed due to just 1-for7 shooting from three-point range in the first period.
The Lions made just two of its first 11 shots to open the game, allowing the Greyhounds to open as much as a seven-point lead with less than seven minutes to play before the break. But the Lions answered with six straight points on scores from Daniel Ehambe, Walker and Craig Fong – who was making his first appearance of the season – in less than two minutes to trim the lead to just a point, and finally went ahead with 2:24 to play on a triple from Carson, the first three-point bucket of the night for the Lions.
That 13-4 run to close the half carried over into the second period, where the Lions opened up on a 14-5 run in the half’s first four minutes, sparked by seven points from Walker. They pushed the lead to as much as 12 points with under four minutes to go, hitting five three-pointers in the second half and 13-for-16 from the charity stripe.
Eastern New Mexico got as close as 47-46 at the 10:54 mark on a layup from Devone Davis, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds, capping a 15-5 run that spanned nearly six minutes.
But the Lions quelled that threat with seven quick points, including Carson’s second three of the night to push the lead back to six, and essentially end the final ENMU threat of the night.
A&M-Commerce will close out the road portion of its season on Saturday when it travels to Canyon for a 4:00 p.m. tipoff vs West Texas A&M.