SAN ANGELO, Texas — Jamaal Hunnicutt had a double-double, posting 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds moved closer to their second-straight Lone Star Conference South title with an 81-73 win at Angelo State.
Eastern (19-7, 9-2) is a win away from clinching the division title. The Hounds play at Abilene Christian Saturday. A loss would create a first-place tie with Texas A&M-Kingsville (18-9, 9-3), which beat Midwestern State 82-73.
Kingsville would earn the division’s No. 1 seed for the LSC Tournament by virtue of a season sweep of the Hounds.
“It is a big difference. You’d always rather play the lowest possible seed you can play,” Greyhound coach Shawn Scanlan said. “There’s so much riding on these games. We’ve got to play them one at a time but they have such an impact on the big picture.”
Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, the Greyhounds will host a playoff game Tuesday at Greyhound Arena.
Kennis Green also scored 21 points for ENMU and hit a 3-pointer that put the Greyhounds up for good, 69-67, with 6:23 remaining.
Travazz Buckley and Brent Cooper added nine points for the Hounds, while Jamal Washington added eight.
“I think this was a typical game for us,” Scanlan said. “We had pretty good balance.”
The Rams cut the lead to 71-70 on a 3-pointer by Rashawn Childs with five minutes to go, but the Greyhounds got layups from Hunnicutt and Travazz Buckley to keep a comfortable margin. The Rams only managed three free throws the rest of the way.
Angelo State (12-14, 2-9) stayed with the Greyhounds throughout most of the game with hot 3-point shooting. The Rams went 10-for-21 from beyond the arc, with three treys coming from Nate Gordon.
“We’d push a lead out to seven, they’d hit a three and cut it to four,” Scanlan said. “We could never get any separation. If we left them open, every time they’d hit.”
Gordon led all scorers with 31 points, including a 10-of-12 performance at the free-throw line.
The Greyhounds countered the Rams’ long-distance shooting with huge advantages in other areas — Eastern outscored Angelo 26-1 on second-chance points and 18-6 on the fast break.
“It was a key for us because we talked about offensive rebounding,” said Scanlan, who noted that the Hounds had 15 offensive rebounds and beat Angelo 39-28 on the boards. “They (played zone defense) because they thought we weren’t going to be able to hit shots. You give up offensive rebounding if that’s the case.”