A&M-COMMERCE DROPS 89-85 HEARTBREAKER TO INCARNATE WORD
Incarnate Word 89, A&M-Commerce 85
Location: The Field House * Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (7-13, 2-10 LSC); Incarnate Word (12-8, 8-5 LSC)
Up Next: at Texas A&M-Kingsville * Saturday, February 4 * 3 p.m.
COMMERCE, Texas – Despite four players scoring in double figures, including 22 from Brad Hambrick and a career-best 19 from Devondrick Walker, a late second half run by Incarnate Word turned the tide as the Cardinals drop the Lions in an 89-85 heartbreaker at the Field House. The Lions fall to 7-13 overall on the season and 2-10 in Lone Star Conference play.
Hambrick's 22 points came on 7-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-8 from the free throw line, while adding five assists for A&M-Commerce. Walker, who set his previous career high against Cameron Saturday night, accomplished the feat again, recording 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting with five rebounds.
Desmond King had another solid night for the Lions, finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds with a season-high four assists. Preston Whitley added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench for A&M-Commerce, including five offensive rebounds, while dishing out a pair of assists.
Andrew Davis finished with eight points and seven rebounds for the Lions while Mouhamadou N'doye had another productive night off the bench, setting a career-best with five blocks while adding two points and a pair of rebounds in eight minutes of work.
The opening 20 minutes proved to be a back and forth battle between the Lions and Cardinals as neither team was able to establish much of a foothold. After four ties and five lead changes, A&M-Commerce found a little bit of a spark thanks to the play of Walker. Leading 24-23, the sophomore was responsible for a three-pointer, a steal and an alley-oop dunk in a two minute span, helping the Lions build their largest lead of the game at 30-23 with 4:32 remaining.
A&M-Commerce was able to maintain the lead down the stretch, taking a 34-32 lead into halftime, thanks in part to shooting 44.4 percent from the floor while holding Incarnate Word to just 35.5 percent shooting (11-31).
Incarnate Word found its scoring touch early in the second half, claiming its first lead of the game at 38-37 with just over three minutes gone off the clock. The Cardinals would extend that advantage to seven at 48-41, outscoring the Lions 25-11 since falling behind by seven late in the first half.
The Lions battled back on their home court, tying the game at 50-50 before finally reclaiming the lead at 71-70 off a lay-up from King with 3:38 to go in the game. But the next two minutes proved to be costly for A&M-Commerce as four missed shots, followed by a handful of quick baskets from Incarnate Word, turned the advantage into an eight-point deficit at 79-71 with 1:28 remaining.
A&M-Commerce continued to fight, pulling to within two at 87-85 with 11 seconds remaining, but a pair of free throws with six seconds left sealed the game for Incarnate Word, who remain in third place in the Lone Star Conference standings, improving to 12-8 overall and 8-5 in LSC play.
The Lions shot an even 50 percent from the floor, hitting 30-of-60 shots and were a respectable 6-of-15 (40 percent) from beyond the three-point arc. Both the Lions and the Cardinals were nearly identical in each of their shooting percentages, but it was Incarnate Word's depth that ultimately played a pivotal role as the Cardinals' bench outscored the Lions' reserves 38-16 on the night.
Six different Cardinals finished in double figures, with their two leading contributors playing off the bench. Dionelle Rucker finished with 22 points and five rebounds while Jordan Roddy added 15 points and five boards of his own. Denzel Livingston and Chris Johnson each finished with 14 points for Incarnate Word with Johnson leading the team with six rebounds. Shaun Umeh (11 points) and Lyndale Brown (10 points) also finished in double digits for Incarnate Word.
With the 2011-12 season winding down, A&M-Commerce now sets its sights on a key home-and-home series with Texas A&M-Kingsville. The Javelinas currently sit seventh in the LSC standings at 3-9 in conference play (8-13 overall), holding a one-game lead over the Lions who are fighting to pull to within the top eight and advance to the Lone Star Conference Championships in Allen. The two teams square off at 3 p.m. Saturday in Kingsville before making the shift to the Field House for an 8 p.m. tip Monday, February 6th. Both games can be heard live on KETR.org with the game on Monday being streamed live on FoxSportsSouthwest.com.