By Mickey Winfield: Freedom New Mexico
Shawn Scanlan doesn’t much believe in moral victories, but the Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball coach felt he had something special on the court for most of Wednesday’s Lone Star Conference South Division game at Greyhound Arena.
The Greyhounds suited only six players against 17th-ranked Tarleton State, which brought a came in with a 13-game winning streak. The Hounds led much of the way before Tarleton went on a 26-6 second-half run and held on for a 63-53 win.
“There was a lot of good that came out of the game,” Scanlan said. “But the bottom line is winning and losing. It’s a small consolation to come out and get beat.”
Junior guard Chad Johnson led the Hounds (6-15, 0-6 South) with 14 points. Senior guard Justin Redman-Trotter followed with 13 points, while senior Kendall Clark posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“That’s when your best guys have got to rise to the top,” Scanlan said. “Our best players didn’t rise to the top at the most crucial point in the game.
“Justin can’t be 5-for-15 for us to have a chance. He didn’t have one of his better games. He’s got to play like our best player — he is our best player, he should play like it.”
Tarleton State’s Avery Patterson led all scorers with 21 points, followed by Limar Wilson with 13 and Eric Williams with 11.
ENMU also outrebounded Tarleton State 41-38.
The Hounds jumped out to a 9-0 lead, highlighted by a game-opening Redman-Trotter 3-pointer and two Matt Churchman baskets.
The ENMU lead swelled to 13-3. The Texans closed to 21-19 at one point, but the Hounds built their margin to 34-27 at the break.
The Texans (19-2, 6-0) have been down at halftime only four times this season, but one of them was Wednesday night against the under-manned Greyhounds.
ENMU scored seven straight points early in the second half to take a 41-31 lead before Tarleton went on its game-breaking run, opening a 58-47 lead late in the game.
“It’s disappointing,” Scanlan said. “You have to put yourself into position to win games — that’s the first step. And then you have to go ahead and win them. Tonight we put ourselves into position and we didn’t go ahead and win.”
Tarleton State coach Lonn Reisman said his team took the Greyhounds for granted.
“(Scanlan’s) team was very well prepared tonight,” Reisman said. “They have six people — we look out there and see six people and it doesn’t exactly get our adrenaline going. We have to learn that you can not do that in the game of basketball.”
Junior guard Marquis Ruffin (7.4 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game) was out Wednesday night with the flu.
“When it got down to crunch time, we needed some solid possessions and we just didn’t do it,” Scanlan said. “We didn’t continue doing those good things on a real consistent basis.”
The Greyhounds host Texas A&M University-Kingsville Saturday, and Abilene Christian on Wednesday, before going on the road for three games, starting with West Texas A&M University on Feb. 16.