SOLID EFFORT LEADS A&M-COMMERCE TO 76-69 VICTORY OVER CAMERON
A&M-Commerce 76, Cameron 69
Location: The Field House • Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (7-12, 2-9 LSC); Cameron (11-7, 7-5 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Incarnate Word • Wednesday, February 1 • 8 p.m.
COMMERCE, Texas -- Three Lions scored in double figures, led by 20 points from Brad Hambrick and a career-high 17 from Devondrick Walker, as A&M-Commerce pulled away in the second half to topple third-place Cameron 76-69 at the Field House. The Lions end a five-game skid, improving to 7-12 on the year and 2-9 in Lone Star Conference play.
Hambrick was efficient all night, hitting 6-of-9 shots from the floor, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, along with a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line while adding a pair of assists. Walker scored 13 of his career-best 17 points in the second half, shooting 3-of-5 on the night, including a pair of key three-pointers, and was a solid 9-of-10 from the free throw line with a pair of rebounds.
Desmond King nearly posted his third double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds for A&M-Commerce with three assists. Preston Whitley added nine points in his first start of the season while Esteban Arriola finished with six points, three rebounds and two assists for A&M-Commerce.
LaBree Sledge was quiet from the floor, finishing with just two points, but was one of the key sparks in the Lions' offensive attack, dishing out a game-high seven assists with seven rebounds. Andrew Davis had six rebounds for A&M-Commerce while Mouhamadou N'doye tied his career-high with four blocks on the night to complement his four rebounds and three points, including a thunderous alley-oop dunk late in the second half to help ice the victory.
A&M-Commerce found its touch early, using a 9-2 run sparked by a three-pointer from Walker to build an 18-11 lead near the midway point of the first half. But Cameron would respond with a 7-0 run of its own, tying the game at 18-18 and setting the tone for the remainder of the first half in which the teams would combine for five ties and six lead changes.
Trailing 29-25 late in the half, Hambrick hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to one at 29-28 and it appeared that would be the score heading into halftime. But a three-pointer from the Aggies' Milton Garner with two second remaining gave Cameron momentum and the 32-28 lead heading into the break.
Garner would hit a lay-up early in the second half, giving the Aggies their largest lead of the night at 34-28. But the Lions would respond with a 9-1 run of its own, reclaiming the lead at 37-35. The teams would exchange baskets for the next seven minutes, ultimately finding the game tied at 46-46 with 11:19 to go.
But A&M-Commerce would settle into a groove and slowly start to pull away from Cameron, outscoring the Aggies 22-10 over the next 10 minutes to take a commanding 68-56 lead with 1:46 remaining in the game. The game then turned into a free throw shooting contest as the Lions hit eight-of-10 free throws down the stretch, helping to pull out the 76-69 decision.
Consistency was the name of the game for A&M-Commerce on the night as the Lions shot an identical 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from the floor in both the first and second halves. A&M-Commerce hit 47.1 percent from beyond the three-point arc (8-of-17) and was 73.7 percent from the free throw line (28-of-38). Cameron struggled to find its touch on the night, hitting just 38.5 percent from the floor (25-of-65), 26.3 percent from three (5-of-19) and 58.3 percent from the charity stripe (14-of-24).
Garner led the way for Cameron with a game-high 34 points with eight rebounds, but got little help from his supporting cast. Andrew Thomas finished with nine points and four rebounds for the Aggies with Dol Kutney posting eight points and nine boards on the night.
The win over Cameron was a crucial one for A&M-Commerce as it continues its quest to qualify for the 2012 Lone Star Conference Championships in Allen. With the victory over third-place Cameron, the Lions are now finished with the top three teams in the league (Tarleton State and Midwestern State are the top-two), having faced each twice.
A&M-Commerce remains at home and looks to build on its home court momentum when it welcomes Incarnate Word the Field House on Wednesday, February 1. The Cardinals defeated the Lions 85-61 on December 3rd in San Antonio and are currently fifth in the LSC standings with an 11-8 overall record and are 7-5 in conference play. Opening tip is scheduled for 8 p.m.