LAS VEGAS, Nev. — For the second night in a row, Eastern New Mexico University’s men were in contention late against a quality opponent.
But just as Central Missouri State had done Friday night, Drury spoiled the fun in Saturday’s High Desert Classic matchup, rallying from an eight-point deficit to post an 81-63 victory at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ McDermott Physical Education Center.
Sophomore guard Steven Gum led three players in double figures for the Panthers (7-2) with 20 points. Drury erased a three-point halftime deficit by shooting 64 percent from the field (14-of-22) in the final half.
ENMU (4-6) shot well for the second consecutive night, finishing at 49 percent. But after sinking 16-of-26 shots in the opening stanza, the Greyhounds converted only 37 percent of their second-half attempts.
They also went just 2-of-11 from 3-point range after halftime and finished the night 5-of-17.
Junior forward Mikal Monette carried ENMU early, scoring 18 of his season-best 23 points in the first half. Monette also grabbed nine rebounds to share game honors in that category with teammate Ira Cross.
The teams exchanged the lead early, but the Hounds went on a 13-4 run to open their first eight-point lead (20-12) with 11 minutes left in the half. Monette had a 3-pointer and two layups during that stretch.
Drury countered with the next seven points, but the Hounds maintained the lead the rest of the half. They were up by eight points two more times before a layup by senior forward Lorenzo Lasley and Gum’s 3-pointer in the final minute pulled the Panthers close.
Another layup from Lasley pulled Drury even 44-44 with just over 16 minutes left before Gum, who finished just 2-of-8 from 3-point distance, knocked down his second long-range shot of the game to put the Panthers in front.
ENMU stayed close for a while, tying the score 58-58 on a 3-pointer by Travis Carr with 8:46 to go. Guard Brandon Kimbrough put Drury in front for good with two free throws on the Panthers’ next trip downcourt, starting the long run that covered nearly six minutes and put the game out of reach.
Sophomore forward Collins Harris added 19 points for the Panthers, shooting 8-of-11 from the field, while Kimbrough scored 16 points and dished out seven assists.
Senior guard Jolen Montoya went 3-of-5 from 3-point range for the Hounds and finished with 11 points.