A&M-Commerce (13-6, 2-5 LSC) vs Cameron (9-9, 3-4 LSC)
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 • 7:30 p.m.
The Field House (5,000) • Commerce, Texas
Radio: KETR 88.9 FM • Live Stats • Twitter: @Lion_MBB • Game Notes (PDF)
• The Lions will get the first of two chances this week to avenge a loss from earlier this season on Wednesday when they host Cameron, a squad who peeked out a 69-66 win over A&M-Commerce on Jan. 15 in Lawton.
• The Lions have been successful when returning home this year on the heels of a defeat, having won all three times they have hit The Field House floor following a loss.
The last time out
• The No. 4 Tarleton State Texans picked hit nine three-point buckets and picked up a wire-to-wire 84-71 win over A&M-Commerce on Saturday at Wisdom Gym. The Lions got a team-high 15 points from Daniel Ehambe, tying his career high, and 13 points apiece from LaDon Carnegie and Cameron Blue; however, shot just 38 percent from the field as a team and was just 5-of-15 from three-point range after hitting more than half of its shots from beyond the arc in its previous two games. A&M-Commerce did go 28-for-34 from the foul line, including a 10-for-12 performance from Carnegie. Meanwhile, the Texans hit just 11 of their 24 shots from the charity stripe, but got 38 bench points and doubled up the Lions on the offensive glass 16-8 to lead to 19 second-chance points.
• The Lions will go in search of their first road win in LSC play on Saturday at Midwestern State. MSU opened up LSC play for both teams with an 84-73 win over the Lions in Commerce on Jan. 4. The Lions then have a tough travel week after that, trekking to Kingsville to take on the Javelinas before coming all the way home to battle Angelo State less than 48 hours later.
• The Lions had a tough go of it offensively against Tarleton State on Saturday, scoring 13 points in the finall 2:31 to avoid putting up its lowest scoring output of the season. They stayed in it with a 28/34 outing from the foul line, its second most made foul shots as a team in a game this season.
• Tarleton State had just five turnovers in Saturday's game in Stephenville, the least amount by a Lion opponent this year.
• Senior guard Daniel Ehambe tied his career high with 15 points off the bench for the Lions on Saturday, hitting 4/5 from the floor, including a pair of three-pointers, and all five of his foul shots in a season-high 20 minutes of work. He previously hit 15 points earlier in the season in a Nov. 29 win at Southern Arkansas.
• The Lions got off to an 8-0 start to the season, the second best start to a season for A&M-Commerce in program history.
Series vs. CU: A&M-Commerce leads, 23-21
last 5 meetings
2013-14 at Cameron L 69-66
2012-13 CAMERON L 69-63
2012-13 at Cameron L 65-51
2011-12 CAMERON L 76-69
2010-11 CAMERON L 80-74
Will Cook hit a pair of foul shots with 27.6 seconds left and the Lions came up empty on their final two possessions to give the Aggies a 69-66 win at Aggie Gym on Jan. 15. It gave the Aggies their first 3-0 start in LSC play in school history and also marked the first time the Lions dropped consecutive games this season. After trailing by as much as nine in the second half, the Lions managed to take its first lead since the early in the game with 8:35 to go, and held a one-point lead in the game's final minute; however, the Cook converted a pair of foul shots to put CU back ahead by a point, and Tyrie Wooten was called for an offensive foul with 5.8 seconds to play to turn the ball back over to Cameron.
The Aggies have won six of the last seven meetings in the series, but the Lions still hold a 23-21 lead in the all-time series. They are 8-4 vs Cameron at The Field House under Sam Walker, having alternated wins and losses in each of the past four games played in Commerce vs the Aggies.
Scoring with the best: Points have not been hard to come by this season for the Lions, ranking second in the Lone Star Conference with an 82.3 per-game average. To date, that is the highest-scoring team head coach Sam Walker has ever had, currently surpassing his 2006-07 team who averaged 81.9 points per contest. The mark is also the most by any Lion team since 1996-97 when the Lions averaged 83.2 per game under former head coach Paul Peak.
Relying on charity: The Lions are doing their fare share of getting to the foul line. In fact, their 73.9 percent mark at the line is only behind Tarleton's 74.4 percent in league play, and their 529 attempts are just 11 less than the Texans. Coach Sam Walker has had four previous teams in his tenure go over the 70-percent mark as a team from the line, with none higher than the 2006-07 squad's 73.9 percent. The school record for free-throw percentage in a season is 75.9 in 1966-67.
Devondrick nearing elite company: In addition to Devondrick Walker's six threes in his 27-point outburst at Eastern New Mexico, the senior guard also canned all seven of his free throws, moving him closer to eligibility for the LSC and national lead in free throw percentage. He is currently 37 of 39 (94.9) from the foul stripe this year, but needs to average 2.5 attempts per game to qualify for league and national leaders. He is currently averaging 2.05 attempts per game. and would need to average 3.9 foul shots per game the rest of the season to reach the qualifying mark. Should he qualify and maintain his pace, his 94.9 percentage would be good enough to be the national leader and break Mike Micarelli's single-season free throw percentage mark at A&M-Commerce of 93.5 percent set in 1983-84.
Wall of macauley: In addition to his 9.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, A&M-Commerce big man Christian Macauley has been stellar as the Lions' last line of defense. The junior from Washington D.C. leads the Lone Star Conference with 2.7 blocks per game after adding one more to his season total at Cameron. He has at least one block in every game this season for the Lions, with multiple blocks in 15 of A&M-Commerce's 19 games to date. Lee Johnson holds the single-season school record with 84 blocks (2.8 bpg), set in 1978-79. With a minimum of eight games remaining in the season, Macauley will have to average 4.2 blocks per game the rest of the way to surpass Johnson's all-time total.
How do you get to carnegie hall: Junior swing man LaDon Carnegie has battled injuries throughout the middle part of the season, but when he's been in, he's been as dynamic of a scorer as the Lions have. He's done a lot of his damage by being one of the most efficient three-point shooters in the LSC. Carnegie currently ranks second in three-point percentage (48.8) in the league, and is on pace to break the single-season mark at A&M-Commerce in three-point percentage currently held by Bennette Fields at 45.7 percent in the 1987-88 season. Fields' 87-88 season is the last time the Lions had a 45-percent three-point shooter with at least 50 attempts.
Close, but not close enough: The Lions' loss at Eastern New Mexico was also A&M-Commerce's third straight defeat by five points or less. It is the first time since the 1969-70 season that the Lions have dropped three straight LSC games by five or less points, and only the fourth time overall in that span.
Walker adds to win total: Head coach Sam Walker became the all-time most winning coach in A&M-Commerce history last season with his 202nd victory, pushing him past former Lion head coach Jim Grudger, and in two less seasons. He now continues to distance himself from the other 19 coaches in Lion history with 219 victories to his credit. His win total is second among current coaches in the Lone Star Conference, trailing only Tarleton State's Lonn Reisman's 549 victories.
Calling long distance: The Lions have not been afraid to step out and let it fly from beyond the arc this season with its 364 three-point tries ranking second in the LSC. Still, they have managed to be efficient with them too, hitting at a cool 34.3 percent from three-point range, a mark that ranks fourth in the league. A&M-Commerce has made at least 10 threes in seven games this year with a season-high 12 in a six-point win over Southern Arkansas on November 13. In all, four Lions with at least 30 three-point tries are hitting better than 34 percent of those shots, led by LaDon Carnegie's 44.4 percent.
Down, but not out: Halftime deficits have not been much of an issue for A&M-Commerce this season. The Lions have found themselves down at the break of 10 of its 19 games, coming back to win in five of those games. It's largest deficit over come of the season was a 15-point margin in its 71-68 win over Henderson State.