By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds turned the ball over 32 times Wednesday night in a 79-71 loss at Greyhound Arena to Oklahoma Panhandle State University.
“We executed very poorly,” ENMU head coach Shawn Scanlan said. “I have to give them a lot of credit. I thought they flew around and as the game progressed they gained confidence. I thought we were careless both halves.”
The win was little consolation to OPSU coach Jerry Olson.
“I think both teams set basketball back about 100 years,” Olson said. “Both teams threw it every which way.”
The Greyhounds began the game on an 11-2 run and led most of the first half until OPSU senior forward Fred Durr hit a jumper to tie the game at 25-25 near the end of the first half, and Will Stephenson hit two free throws to give the Aggies their first lead of the game at 27-25. OPSU never trailed after that point.
Scanlan was pleased with the Hounds’ first-half defense, allowing the Aggies to shoot just 33 percent from the field for a total of 29 points, and ENMU allowed OPSU just two offensive rebounds in the first half.
“I thought the first half we defended effectively,” Scanlan said. “We accomplished a lot of things defensively, but when you have 20 first-half turnovers it has a tendency to nullify some of the good things you’ve done.”
The Aggies began the second half with a 13-2 run of their own, to take a 41-29 lead.
“They showed a 1-3-1 midcourt trap and we’ve never seen that before,” Scanlan said. “I thought it was a fairly easy adjustment for us to make and we really struggled with that.”
The Greyhounds made a late charge, but it wasn’t enough to erase the OPSU lead.
“(We were) pretty inept offensively,” Scanlan said. “I didn’t think we played like we had any belief in each other, we don’t have any trust in each other right now. We don’t do things that good basketball players do. We’re basically fighting our own demons and until we solve that internal problem within ourselves, we going to have some struggles.”
ENMU senior guard Kevin Davis led all scorers with 25 points while junior forward Travis Cooper contributed a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Kendall Clark added 10 points.
OPSU’s Fred Durr, Will Stephenson and Basil Leslie all led the Aggies with 22 points each.
The Greyhounds begin their Lone Star Conference crossover schedule Saturday hosting Texas A&M Commerce at 4 p.m. after the Zia game at 2 p.m.
“(There’s) a whole lot of room for improvement,” Scanlan said. “This is not the team I envisioned. They’re struggling and somehow we have to straighten out our heads a little bit and get this thing going the right way. It’s very painful to watch a team play this way and we’re suffering through a pretty difficult time right now.”