Lions triumph with buzzer-beater
Tyrie Wooten’s three-point play with just 1.3 seconds remaining capped a furious A&M-Commerce comeback that saw the Lions erase a 15-point second-half deficit and pull out a 71-68 win over Henderson State on Wednesday at The Field House.
The win was the second of the season for the Lions (11-1) over the Reddies (5-6) this season, both coming in the final seconds for A&M-Commerce. The Lions trailed by as much as 15 points with 13:42 remaining in the second half after trailing 38-29 at intermission; however, the Lions finished the game on a 19-2 run, holding the Reddies without a field goal for the final 7:43 of the game.
Kenny Brown drew the Lions even with less than 36 seconds remaining on a pair of foul shots to cap his 13-point night, and after the A&M-Commerce defense forced a 10-second violation to regain possession, Wooten provided the final heroics with a bank shot from the left elbow to put the Lions ahead 70-68 with just 1.3 seconds left. He finished the play with a made free throw and the Reddies’ last-chance effort was wide, giving the Lions their eleventh win in 12 tries this year.
Wooten finished with a team-high 15 points on 7-for-17 from the floor, and added five assists to his night. Meanwhile, Devondrick Walker and Brown added 13 points, while Christian Macauley had a dozen points and three blocks.
The Lions managed to pull out the win despite shooting just 4-for-17 from the three-point line, including just one three from Walker in the second half. The Reddies, on the other hand, canned eight threes on the night and were led by Reggie Murphy’s 18 points, and Ronald Lawson’s double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
It was a tough start for the Lions in the opening half, trailing by nine at the break after the Reddies outrebounded them 22-15, turning that advantage into an 18-2 edge in second-chance points. Things did not seem to be getting much better early in the second half when HSU built the lead to as much as 15, and still held as much as a 13-point advantage until a dunk from Macauley with 9:33 to play finally breathed life into the Lions.
That dunk sparked a quick 8-2 run for the Lions that got the Reddie lead back to as little as nine; however, a three from Aaron Hartwell with less than eight minutes to play put the Reddies back up by 14.
But that was the final field goal of the night for Henderson State, with the Lions’ small lineup immediately going to work after that made basket.
A&M-Commerce scored the next 13 points of the game to get to within three at 66-63. A pair of foul shots from Murphy strengthened the Reddie lead, but Walker answered with his lone three-of the night with 1:17 remaining. The Lions then managed to get a stop before Brown tied it at the line, and two possessions later Wooten provided the games’ final heroics.
The Lions will now take their 11-1 record into the Christmas break and will not see the court again until January 4 when they open up Lone Star Conference play against Midwestern State at The Field House.