By Dave Wagner
Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball coach Shawn Scanlan says the Greyhounds are still trying to hit their stride.
With undefeated Cameron and Southwestern Oklahoma coming to town for Lone Star Conference crossover games, he hopes they get on track quickly.
Cameron men’s and women’s teams will be at Greyhound Arena for 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. games today, followed by Southwestern on Saturday.
The Greyhounds (2-2) are coming off a 102-82 loss to host Washburn, ranked fifth in NCAA Division II, in the finals of the Ichabods’ four-team tournament last weekend.
“We did a good job offensively, maybe the best we’ve done all year long in terms of getting baskets out of our offense,” Scanlan said of the Washburn game. “We still struggled with the turnover issue (24).”
Part of the problem, he said, were numerous open-court turnovers which led to easy Washburn runouts.
The Hounds got impressive performances from junior guard Billy Austin, who scored 21 points and collected seven assists with no turnovers, and forward Daniel Sherman, who added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“Billy has played awfully hard for us this year, but in this game he shot aggressively (7-for-10, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers),” Scanlan said. “And Daniel Sherman had a nice breakout game.”
Cameron, meantime, beat host Drury soundly in the finals of the Panthers’ weekend tourney on Saturday at Springfield, Mo.
Southwestern, meantime, is trying to build on last year’s run to the LSC tournament semifinals after a first-round upset of ENMU at Greyhound Arena.
Scanlan played down any revenge factor against the Bulldogs.
“I’m sure they (ENMU players) will remember it, but we’re dealing with so many issues right now from a basketball standpoint that I’m not sure that’s not more important than a ‘rivalry’ issue.”
Junior guard Reggie Wallace (ankle) saw his first action of the season last weekend, but Scanlan said he’s still trying to regain his form after sitting out all of last year. And the team expects to be without senior guard Jamal Washington (staph infection) for possibly a couple more weeks.
ENMU’s women (2-3) are on a three-game losing streak after losing in the final seconds to Pittsburg State and host Missouri Southern last weekend in Joplin, Mo.
Acting head coach Dustin Klafka said Pitt State is simply a good team. “They played well, and we never got off the bus,” he said of the 76-53 shellacking.
The Zias went to the wire with Missouri Southern, but came up short (51-48) in their bid to hand the Lions their first loss in the history of the event (31-0).
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well, but a lot of that was that we didn’t have our legs (from the Friday game against Pitt State),” Klafka said. “If we learn from this experience, it’ll be good for us. When you’ve got to go on the road in the Lone Star, you’ve got to do the same thing.”