By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers
With less than 10 seconds remaining in Eastern New Mexico’s 83-65 win over Southeastern Oklahoma State on Saturday, Greyhounds Tristan Largent and Ira Cross decided to punctuate the Hounds’ second-straight decisive victory with an ally-oop.
“It was an exclamation point to the game,” Largent said. “That felt good. We’d been talking about that, (Ira)’s been wanting one of those for a while. It was long due.”
The assist was Largent’s 11th of the game, to go with 11 points.
Senior Jolen Montoya led the Hounds with 18 points and shot 4-of-8 from behind the arc to pace the Hounds (13-of-22).
“This is definitely a turnaround,” Largent said. “Over this last week we’ve been doing a lot of shooting. We’ve been coming in the gym twice a day, working individually on our shots and it’s starting to pay off alot.”
The Hounds (6-9) have scored 98 and 83 points in the past two games after failing to crack 70 in their previous 10.
ENMU coach Shawn Scanlan said he is impressed with his team’s turnaround.
“We’ve struggled for the better part of the whole season and it’s been difficult,” Scanlan said. “In these two games it seems like we’ve responded a little bit and we’re beginning to understand more and more what we have to do to be a good basketball team.”
Southeastern Oklahoma State coach Tony Robinson, meanwhile, felt his team deserved to lose.
“I thought we got whipped,” Robinson said. “We got outplayed and outhustled.”
Scanlan said the Hounds’ offensive improvement is partially a product of an equal improvement on defense.
“We allowed 20 second half points on Thursday and tonight we allowed 24 second half points,” he said. “Our defense is giving our offense a chance.”
The ENMU coach said he hopes his team can continue playing like they did this week.
“What I’ve tried to tell them is, ‘I hope you’re seeing what you can do,’” Scanlan said. “We didn’t show ourselves, previous to this week, that we could be this kind of team. And this week we’ve showed that we can be.”
Junior guard Stephen Wilson scored 15 for Eastern followed by junior forward Mikal Monette with 11 and a team high eight boards.
The Savages (8-6) were lead by junior guard Jason Stampley with 21 points. Stampley, guarded by Montoya, was 5-of-10 from the floor in the first half and 2-of-8 in the second.
“I thought he did a good job in the second half on Stampley,” Scanlan said. “Every time Stampley looked to score, he had Jolen in his face in the second half.”