West Texas A&M 77, A&M-Commerce 72
Location: First United Bank Center * Canyon, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (5-7, 0-4 LSC); West Texas A&M (11-1, 5-0 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Eastern New Mexico * Saturday, January 7 * 8 p.m. * The Field House
CANYON, Texas -- Brad Hambrick tied a career-high with 25 points, including his 1,000th career point in a Lion uniform, as the Lions pounced out to an early first half lead, but a second half rally from West Texas A&M proved to be the difference as the Buffaloes hand the Lions a 77-72 setback at the First United Bank Center. A&M-Commerce falls to 5-7 overall and 0-4 in Lone Star Conference play, snapping its three-game winning streak.
Hambrick's 25 points came on nine of 13 shooting, including five-of-seven from the three-point arc, as he also pulled down two rebounds while adding a pair of assists. Hambrick came into the season with 854 career points, and surpassed the 1,00 point plateau late in the first half, upping his career total to 1,015 points. He was one of four Lions to finish in double figures, followed by 13 points and four rebounds by LaBree Sledge.
Desmond King and Preston Whitley each added 10 points for A&M-Commerce with Whitley adding four rebounds. King was held without a rebound for the first time this season. Andrew Davis also contributed seven points and four rebounds for the Lions.
Playing its first game in over two weeks, A&M-Commerce raced out to a fast start, using a 20-6 run to build a commanding 30-13 lead with 11:30 remaining in the opening half. The Lions then were able to keep the Buffaloes at bay, retaining its double-digit lead for the majority of the half, leading by 13 in the waning seconds. But a three-pointer at the first half buzzer pulled the Buffaloes to within 10 at 42-32 and seemed to swing momentum into West Texas' favor.
The Lions seemed unphased by the late basket, tying its game-high early in the second half by reestablishing a 17-point advantage at 51-34 with 17 minutes remaining in the game. But West Texas A&M found its groove, using a 14-2 run to pull to within five at 53-48 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game.
A&M-Commerce went back on top by eight off a three-pointer by Hambrick, but the Buffaloes continued their hot streak, stringing together an 18-4 run to take the lead at 66-60 with just over four minutes remaining. The Lions were able to pull to within one on a pair of occasions, the last of which came at 73-72 with 26 seconds remaining, but four free throws and a pair of missed threes sealed the victory for West Texas A&M.
Offensive rebounding proved to be the spark the Buffaloes needed as West Texas held a dominating 17-3 edge over A&M-Commerce. After shooting 60 percent in the opening half, the Lions finished the game shooting 52.3 percent from the field, including 45.5 percent from three-point range (10-22).
Kennon Washington led West Texas with 24 points and four assists with Donald Sims recording a double-double, knocking down 16 points while grabbing 11 rebounds, including seven offensive. Lionel Foster also recorded a double-double for the Buffaloes, finishing with 13 points and 12 assists, with Courtney Carr adding 11 points and nine rebounds as the Buffaloes won their fifth-straight over the Lions.
A&M-Commerce continues its search for that elusive first Lone Star Conference victory this Saturday, January 7 when it hosts Eastern New Mexico. Tip-off against the Greyhounds is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday evening or 25 minutes following the conclusion of the women's game.