By Mickey Winfield, Freedom New Mexico
Intensity — it’s something that Shawn Scanlan said his Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds have been playing without.
Monday night against Lubbock Christian, Scanlan saw plenty of it, and the Hounds snapped their six-game losing skid by edging the Chaparrals 68-67.
“It got a little more exciting than I would have liked at the end,” Scanlan acknowledged. “We’re trying to figure out how to win. We’ll take it any way we can get it at this point.”
The Hounds (3-9) expanded a 30-22 halftime lead into a double-digit margin that they kept throughout much of the second half before the Chaps (5-3) fought back down the stretch.
Hanging on to a two-point lead, ENMU junior Equs Darby made four late free throws to extend two-point margins to four, and ENMU survived a late 3-pointer by LCU’s Tommy Lane just before the buzzer.
Asked if he gave his team an energy drink to get their intensity up, Scanlan said he gave his squad something else.
“I don’t think it was Red Bull that I gave them before the game,” Scanlan said. “I did give them a piece of my mind. We had a little heart-to-heart before the game started, and I really thought they responded to it well.”
Darby and fellow junior Justin Reynolds led the Hounds with 18 points apiece. Darby’s 12 rebounds earned him a double-double, and junior guard Jimmie Marshall added 10 points.
Lane led all scorers with 23 points for LCU.
“When you’ve got balance and you can sustain balance it makes it a lot harder to focus on one guy,” Scanlan said. “We had a couple of breakdowns throughout the game, but what we did, we did well.”
Monday night’s game also featured former Clovis High standout and current LCU freshman Jaden Isler, who led the Wildcats in scoring the past two seasons. Isler played 15 minutes against the Hounds, hitting one field goal, a three-pointer.
“It was great to be this close to home and play,” Isler said. “It was kind of a weird feeling, but once the game started I felt fine.”
Monday’s win was the Hounds first victory since late November.
“We’ve been messing around for long enough,” Scanlan said. “Tonight wasn’t the prettiest basketball you’ll ever see, but it was effective enough to get us a win.”
It was the start of a three-game homestand for the Hounds. They host Cameron at 4 p.m. Saturday and Southwestern Oklahoma on Monday night in Lone Star Conference crossover play.