By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers
With a shot to win at the end of regulation and overtime, the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds just couldn’t get one more basket to complete the upset.
Battling back from a 10-point deficit, ENMU pushed West Texas A&M to overtime before finally falling 92-89 in a Lone Star Conference South matchup on Monday at Greyhound arena.
West Texas senior Ronnie Holmes led five Buffaloes in double figures as he finished with a game high 29.
Down 90-89 with 14.8 seconds left in overtime, ENMU junior Stephen Wilson took two shots from the paint that would have given the Hounds the lead, but neither fell.
“(ENMU coach Shawn Scanlan) told the point guard to take it one-on-one, and if someone picks it up, to dish it down low to one of the guys on the blocks,” Wilson said. “When he threw me the ball, I tried to take it strong to the basket.”
Wilson finished with 17 and Mikal Monette had 18 for the Hounds (9-13, 3-4).
“It just came down to execution at the end, making plays,” Wilson said. “They made one more play than we did. We definitely should have won.”
Scanlan said by the end of overtime, he had played all his cards.
“We didn’t have enough plays at the end of the game left in the bag,” he said. “Obviously, to have been as far down as we were in the second half, to come back speaks very well of the guys’ effort. The flip side of that is when you put yourself in that position, you think you deserve to win.
“But there’s no deserving about it, you have to earn it.”
With just over 12 minutes left in regulation, the Hounds were down 67-53 before making a comeback and forcing overtime.
“Not in any stretch of the imagination did we think that lead would hold,” West Texas coach Rick Cooper said. “They’re a well-coached team. I mean this, I know I can’t outcoach Coach Scanlan. So we had to go out there and outplay them.”
At the end of regulation, ENMU freshman Joshua Jackson tried a drive for the win, but West Texas’ Patrick Culver came up with a big block to force overtime.
Culver finished with 17 points, nine boards, and four blocks for the Buffs (17-5, 6-1).
“We hit a couple big shots and had a couple big rebounds,” Cooper said. “If it would have gone another second longer, we wouldn’t have (won). We were just a little more fortunate tonight than Eastern. That’s all it boils down to.”
Eastern took control of the game early, going up 23-13 in the first 10 minutes, but the Buffs went on a 30-15 run the rest of the half to take a lead into the break.
The Greyhounds play Thursday at Texas A&M-Kingsville before returning home next week for a two-game homestand against Angelo State (Feb. 15) and Abilene Christian (Feb. 18).