By Dave Wagner
The Eastern New Mexico University basketball teams were on their way to a perfect weekend in Oklahoma, but Southwestern Oklahoma’s Cer Edwards spoiled the party.
Edwards drained a 3-pointer with four seconds left on Saturday, giving SWOSU a 51-49 win over the Greyhounds in a Lone Star Conference men’s crossover game. The shot snapped ENMU’s eight-game winning streak.
The Hounds won handily on Thursday 86-68 over Cameron University in Lawton, Okla. Meantime, the ENMU women broke out of a three-game losing streak by beating their counterparts from both schools.
For the men, the close loss was something of a rarity. They’d won 26 of their last 31 outings dating back about a year, including 11 of 12 games decided by four points or less or in overtime.
ENMU men’s coach Shawn Scanlan said he was as disappointed in the performance as in the loss itself.
“It’s unfortunate to lose a game like this simply because we didn’t play as well as we could,” he said. “When you perform that way (and lose), you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.”
The Hounds (10-4) shot less than 40 percent from the field and made only 5-of-13 free throws, well below their normal figures. They saw a nine-point lead with 15 minutes left slip away.
Meantime, the Bulldogs (10-4) rode a combined 27 points from reserves Lee J. Kirkpatrick (15) and Marcel Justin (12), who between them were 12-of-15 from the floor.
It was ENMU’s first loss in six crossovers against the North Division. The Hounds play their final crossover against Tarleton State (11-2), ranked 10th in NCAA Division II, on Thursday at Greyhound Arena.
The Texans eliminated the Hounds in the LSC tournament last year.
“They’re just as big and athletic, and they’ve added some (scoring) punch,” Scanlan said. “But I think they’re a little more unpredictable than they were last year.”
After losing three narrow verdicts at home, the ENMU women (6-7) were able to get themselves back on track as they head into a South Division showdown on Tuesday with rival West Texas A&M in Canyon.
The Zias led the entire game in beating SWOSU 81-70, holding on late after the Lady Bulldogs cut a 21-point deficit to five in the closing moments.
Freshman guard Heather Brown, making her fourth start after an ankle injury to Kristi McGuire, poured in 20 points and led a 10-for-17 ENMU barrage from 3-point range by going 5-of-7.
“She’s beginning to feel more what her role is now as a starter,” ENMU coach Dan Buzard said. “She had some good looks Thursday that didn’t go down. She had those same looks on Saturday and hit them.”
Meantime, he said McGuire played effectively off the bench Saturday in her second game back. Eastern also got solid play from Elizabeth Richards (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Jereena Bosket (12 points, seven rebounds).
The Zias, who beat West Texas A&M at home in December, share the early South lead with Midwestern State at 1-0. WT (11-2) has won six straight since losing at Portales in mid-December, and blew out Cameron 91-52 on Saturday.