Buffs crush Hounds in LSC tourney

CMI staff

ALLEN, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University’s stay in the Lone Star Conference men’s postseason tournament was a short one.

Third-seeded West Texas A&M broke a 10-10 tie with 13 unanswered points and never looked back in an 80-47 drubbing of the No. 6 Greyhounds on Wednesday afternoon in the first basketball game ever played in the Allen Events Center.

Courtney Carr, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, went 9-for-9 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the line for a game-high 20 points, leading four WT players in double figures. Point guard Lionel Foster added a game-high nine assists to his 10 points for the Buffaloes (19-7), who face second-seeded Tarleton State — a 67-55 winner over No. 7 Texas A&M-Kingsville — in a 5 p.m. (MST) semifinal on Friday.

Junior point guard Devone Davis scored 14 points and had four assists for ENMU (14-14), which posted its first .500-or-better campaign since 2003-04. Senior center Curtis Wilkinson had a game-high nine rebounds.

“We tried to do some different things early in the game, especially on defense, but we didn’t do it very well,” ENMU coach Andrew Helton said. “I thought Foster played well early and got their post guys going.”

The Hounds regained the services of three players who have each been out at least five games at the end of the regular season with injuries, but all were limited. Senior guard Stefan Mirabal failed to score in just three minutes, while senior forwards Aaron Edwards (11 minutes) and Max Carrier (seven minutes) managed three points apiece.

“It definitely wasn’t our night,” Helton said. “We didn’t play well at all. The kids have played with a lot of heart through a lot of injuries.

“Give credit to WT and coach (Rick) Cooper. I thought they played very well.”

WT was without junior guard Kennon Washington, the team’s second-leading scorer who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during a loss on Saturday at Cameron.

It was by far the Hounds’ most lopsided setback of the season. In fact, their biggest deficit before Wednesday was 22 points — the final score — in a 76-54 loss in December at Division I Long Beach State, which has already clinched the Big West Conference championship with a 14-0 league mark.

The Hounds, who came in second in the LSC in scoring (73 ppg), were held under 60 points for just the fourth time. Their previous low came in a 55-52 loss to Tarleton State at Greyhound Arena on Jan. 4.

ENMU struggled all day, shooting just 30 percent (16-of-53) from the field, while the Buffs went 29-of-48 (60 percent) and posted a 37-29 edge in rebounds. Even more telling, WT had a 48-22 scoring edge in the paint.