By Mickey Winfield, Freedom New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball coach Shawn Scanlan believes it’s sometimes easier to coach after a positive outing than a negative game, and he’s got that opportunity now after the Greyhounds earned their first win of the season at home Tuesday night, beating the University of the Southwest 73-49.
The Greyhounds (1-3) built a 42-22 halftime lead and survived an early second-half run that pulled the winless Mustangs (0-9) within 12 points.
“We kind of got off the schnide tonight and we needed to do that,” Scanlan said.
Junior guard Justin Reynolds scored 10 of his game-high 14 points in the opening half to give the Hounds a comfortable lead. Reynolds shot 5-for-8 from the field, including hitting 2-of-4 on 3-pointers.
Scanlan was happy for the first win of the season, and happy that his Hounds shot nearly 53 percent from the field.
“That’s a huge stat for us,” Scanlan said. “We haven’t shot the ball that well. The quality of the shots were better, they were open and we had lots of shots at the basket from point-blank range.”
The Hounds also turned the ball over 27 times compared to the Mustangs’ 15 turnovers.
ENMU junior guard Kelvin Franklin hit a short jump shot late in the first half to give the Hounds their biggest lead of the half at 41-20.
After sophomore guard Matt Churchman started the second half with a three-point play, University of the Southwest used four points from freshman forward Brant Etheridge and took advantage of some Greyhound turnovers to crawl to within 12 points.
Churchman and junior Equs Darby added 12 points each for the Hounds and junior guard Aaron King chipped in 10.
Sophomore guard Darrick Matthews led the Mustangs with 14 points and freshman forward Zac Dayton scored 10 points.
“Now we can start learning lessons off of positives,” Scanlan said. “All we’ve done is try to teach and learn off of negatives. You can only do so much of that. I hope we can build on that. It’s an opportunity to build something, and you have to have a foundation to do that.”
Tuesday night’s game was the first of four consecutive home games for the Hounds. New Mexico Highlands comes to town Saturday night.