By Greg Price
Eastern New Mexico University’s Mikal Monette matched Southwestern Oklahoma’s Nate Perry in points and rebounds, but not in turnovers.
On a night featuring 27 ENMU giveaways and poor outside shooting, the Bulldogs took advantage to beat the Greyhounds 80-65 Thursday night in a Lone Star Conference men’s crossover game at Greyhound Arena.
Monette finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds on 10 for 10 shooting from the field, but the senior forward committed a team-high eight turnovers.
Perry, a junior center, also tallied 26 points and 10 rebounds, but committed no turnovers.
“You don’t quit shooting the ball if you’re a shooter,” ENMU coach Shawn Scanlan said. “When you can’t hit open shots, you have nowhere to look but to yourself.”
Senior forward Ira Cross contributed 10 points and seven rebounds for Eastern.
Trailing most of the way, the Hounds (2-4) pulled within three points on two occasions late in the game, but junior guard Eric Payne banged home a three to extend the Bulldogs lead back to six.
Monette and Cross dominated the inside, scoring the Hounds’ first 12 points of the game.
Cross sunk a runner in the lane three minutes into the game and Monette followed with three straight layups, including a double clutch shot over two Bulldogs.
“We started going inside and it was working,” Cross said. “And we just stopped and never went back to it.”
Southwestern (5-0), which has won each of its game by margins of between 13 and 15 points, countered by hitting 3-of-4 from 3-point range during the first four minutes.
Senior guard Othello Alford hit sophomore forward Jose Garcia in the corner for a three. Then after a steal, Garcia found senior guard Reggie Gunn, who drove to the lane for a basket and a 17-12 with 12:25 left in the opening half.
“The missed shots and the turnovers played into each other,” Scanlan said. “I think it was all part of the same problem. You’ve got to be prepared mentally to play, you have to understand your limitations, play to your strengths and trust each other. And right now we don’t have that.”
Down 38-32 at the break, the Hounds started the second with two turnovers.
After senior guard Tristan Largent missed a layup, Monette was again the lifeblood, skying for the tip-in to keep ENMU within 42-36 with two minutes gone.
With 12:37 remaining in the game, Monette drop-stepped and spun around his defender for a lay-in and the foul. Monette hit the free throw to bring the Hounds within four.
Redman-Trotter drew a charge, igniting the team and the crowd, but Eastern failed to capitalize on the emotional momentum.
“On the defensive end we played hard,” Cross said, “but we just couldn’t make the one play to run away with the game.”