By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Eastern New Mexico University senior forward Mikal Monette scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in securing the fourth double-double of his career, as the Greyhounds got their first win of the season, beating cross-state rival New Mexico Highlands University 81-71 Tuesday night at Greyhound Arena.
“This team that we played tonight is not a bad team,” Monette said. “But they’re not somebody like Washburn that we played the other night. We just have to understand that it’s a win, but we didn’t play the best basketball that we could play. We can play a lot better, we realize that we still have a lot to build on.”
ENMU head coach Shawn Scanlan, in his seventh year on the Greyhound bench, was concerned with the Hound’s inconsistency.
“Every time we did something good, we answered with something bad,” Scanlan said. “I thought we struggled from a performance standpoint, but there were some bright spots.”
The Hounds shot 54.5 percent from the field, compared to Highlands shooting just 43.1 percent.
The Cowboys opened the contest taking a quick 12-5 lead, highlighted by four fast points from Highlands guard David Omoghan, but Eastern went on a 19-0 run, to take a 24-12 advantage, spurred by 12 points from Monette.
“We got ahead 12-5 and we were playing very well,” New Mexico Highlands head coach Greg Berry said. “We went from (being) up 12-5, to (being) down 24-12, and ten of those points were while our bench guys were in there.”
The Cowboys made a run, to cut the ENMU lead to three points, but as the first-half buzzer sounded, ENMU senior forward Ira Cross sank a 15-footer to send the Hounds in at the break with a five-point lead 34-29.
The ENMU men maintained their lead throughout the second half, leading by as much as 12 points, before winning the game 81-71.
The Hounds out rebounded the Cowboys 41-21, and scored 16 points from offensive rebounds, compared to just four for Highlands.
Even though they won, Scanlan and the Hounds know they have work to do.
“I thought that Highlands was very scrappy,” Scanlan said. “I thought they really fought hard, and did the things they could do to stay in the game. We’ve still got to go back and get some things done but it’s a lot easier to go back after a win, than it is after a loss.”
Cross and junior guard Kevin Davis led the Greyhounds with 17 points each, followed by Monette’s 14. The win extends the ENMU winning streak over New Mexico Highlands to six, dating back to November of 2000.
The Greyhounds (1-2) travel Friday to the Central Missouri State Basketball Classic which runs through Saturday, before returning home to play Southwestern Oklahoma in a Lone Star Conference Crossover game.