East Central 71, A&M-Commerce 65
Location: Wisdom Gym · Stephenville, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (2-2); East Central (2-0)
Up Next: vs. UT-Permian Basin · Saturday, Nov. 17 · 5 p.m.
STEPHENVILLE, Texas – A slow start to the second half did in A&M-Commerce Friday evening as the Lions fell behind by double digits and never recovered, dropping a 71-65 decision to East Central. The Lions drop to 2-2 on the year, falling in the opening game of the 2012 Tarleton Texan Tip-Off Classic in Stephenville.
Four Lions finished in double figures on the afternoon, led by 16 points by Stefon Carson and Jason Smith, who added five rebounds and two assists. Preston Whitley had his best game of the season, notching 12 points with three boards while Tyrie Wooten posted 10 points.
Andrew Davis' streak of double-doubles ended at three games as he led the Lions with seven rebounds but was held scoreless, taking just two shots on the day. Carson led A&M-Commerce with four steals with Devondrick Walker and Donavon Gage each adding a pair.
Coming off the riveting 91-87 overtime victory over Dallas Baptist Tuesday evening, A&M-Commerce was looking to extend its early season winning streak to three games, squaring off against its old Lone Star Conference North Division rival. Both the Lions and Tigers battled through the opening 20 minutes as the two combined for six ties and four lead changes as East Central notched the final three points to take a 29-26 lead into halftime.
Those final three points seemed to spark East Central in the second half as the Tigers outscored the Lions 11-4 through the opening four minutes, extending their lead to 11 at 41-30. East Central would push that advantage to 13 at 47-34, looking to put the game away early.
But A&M-Commerce wasn't ready to go down without a fight as the Lions strung together a 10-0 run over the next two minutes, pulling to within three at 47-44 with just under nine minutes to play. But the Lion run was quickly matched with a run by the Tigers, extending that lead back to 13 at 66-53 with 2:22 remaining before holding off A&M-Commerce's final surge to take the victory.
A&M-Commerce had dominated the series with East Central under head coach Sam Walker, winning nine straight against the Tigers and were 15-1 against East Central before the loss this afternoon. Henry Pwono led the way with 14 points for the Tigers with Chris Fisher adding 12 points and Chris Lee and Jason Williams each notching 11.
The Lions will be back on the court at Wisdom Gym tomorrow, facing UT-Permian Basin for the second time in a week. A&M-Commerce defeated the Falcons 80-65 last Saturday at the St. Edward's Shootout in Austin in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Saturday's game tips at 5 p.m. with live video and live statistics available at LionAthletics.com.