By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Josh Megyeri had a shooting debut to remember, and Western New Mexico had a start it would like to forget.
Playing in its season debut, and the Eastern New Mexico University coaching debut for Andrew Helton, the Greyhounds held Western to one field goal in the first eight minutes and never looked back in an 83-68 victory Tuesday night at Greyhound Arena.
ENMU, which faces the Mustangs again 3 p.m. Saturday in Silver City, never trailed. They led by as many as 23 points and had nine players finish with at least five points in a balanced effort.
The Mustangs used pressure defense to get on track offensively in the second half, but they could never recover from the opening eight-minute stretch where they went 1-of-16 and turned the ball over six times.
“We came out flat, which was surprising because it was our opener,” WNMU coach Mark Coleman said. “We were tentative offensively, we weren’t getting to the basket. We turned the ball over, and they converted.”
Seven Greyhounds had points in the opening 15-2 run, but Helton credited most of those scoring chances to what Eastern did on the other end of the court.
“We defended pretty well, to be honest,” Helton said. “Some of their shots didn’t go, and they’re a good team. But we defended a little better than we had been doing so far.”
Victor Reid scored 17 points to lead three Greyhounds in double figures, while Migyeri added 15 points on 5-of-7 from 3-point range to lead a 34-point effort from the ENMU bench.
Megyeri, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard, hit the first of his five treys near the end of the game-opening run, He had two more to push the lead to 23-9 midway through the first half, then hit two more as the Hounds upped the lead to 20 in the second half.
Helton said he didn’t envision Megyeri would get minutes as a 3-point specialist, but said: “If he keeps shooting like that, he will.”
The Mustangs changed up their style, going to a guard-heavy lineup. The full court-pressure caused a 16-turnover second half and got the deficit to 71-61 with five minutes to play.
But the style also led to fouls, and the Hounds converted 14 of their last 15 free throws down the stretch to keep the Mustangs at bay.
“Any team that shoots 24-of-32, they’re going to win a lot of games,” Coleman said. “We ended up fouling because we needed to, but they hit free throws like they needed to.”
Tony Riley Jr. scored 19 to lead five Mustangs in double figures. Stefan Mirabal and Lucio Luttrell both had 11 points, and Eli Crevelone and Chad Carter added 10 apiece for Western.
For the Greyhounds, Tyler Jefferson scored 10 points on 2-of-3 shooting and a 6-of-6 night from the line, while Jimmie Marshall had seven points, five assists and four steals.