By Dave Wagner: Freedom New Mexico
PORTALES — They may not get many style points, but the Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball team was happy to put another game in the win column Monday night.
Tyler Jefferson and Victor Reid combined to shoot 13-for-15 from the floor and the Greyhounds led wire-to-wire in turning back Texas-Permian Basin 52-41 at Greyhound Arena.
The Hounds (4-1), who have won three in a row, relied on solid defense again to keep the slow-paced Falcons at bay. UTPB (1-4) made a run late, cutting a 14-point Hounds’ lead to four before ENMU put the game out of reach.
Jefferson, a 6-foot-6 junior from Fort Worth, went 7-for-8 from the floor and finished with a double-double — 17 points, 11 rebounds — while the 6-4 Reid added 14 points.
Permian Basin opened the game by running the shot clock nearly all the way down several times, and really didn’t change much until the final few minutes.
“They really wanted to slow us down and get us out of our (rhythm),” said Reid, a 6-foot-4 junior from El Paso. “And, to a certain extent, they did that.
“They made their run. We just had to come back with our own run.”
Permian Basin missed its first six shots from the floor to fall behind 8-0 in the opening seven minutes, and the Falcons trailed 26-14 after shooting 5-for-22 in the first half.
They closed to 31-27 with 13 minutes to go, however, on a basket by junior Austin Williams. Guard Tralyn Harden’s 3-pointer put the Hounds up 36-29 at the 10:29 mark and UTPB only got as close as five one more time, going the final 7 1/2 minutes without a field goal (0-for-8).
“I just don’t think we played great offense again,” said first-year ENMU coach Andrew Helton, whose team struggled on offense but played solid defense in a 65-55 win over Western State (Colo.) on Saturday. “I thought we had a lot of good looks in the second half.
“I was proud we got some (key) stops in the second half. Good teams make stops when they have to.”
ENMU took 37 shots from the field, but hit 19 for 51 percent — including 16-of-22 (73 percent) from inside the arc. The Hounds were able to use their athleticism to get to the basket.
Reid hit a couple of shots from the elbow in the second half to help loosen things up.
“That’s just a shot we take every day at practice,” he said. “With the kind of offense we play, I have to knock that shot down consistently. And it opens up our high-low game (with Jefferson).”
Guard Elijah Jordan led the Falcons with 13 points, but shot 4-of-14 from the field. No one else had more than seven points for Permian Basin.
ENMU played without senior forward Equs Darby, who sprained an ankle in Saturday’s game. Helton said Darby could return when the Hounds finish their four-game homestand with Lone Star Conference crossover tilts against North Division foes Southeastern Oklahoma on Thursday and East Central on Saturday.