A&M-COMMERCE HITS STUMBLING BLOCK IN 67-53 LOSS AT WEST TEXAS A&M
West Texas A&M 67, A&M-Commerce 53
Location: First United Bank Center • Canyon, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (10-7, 3-4 LSC); West Texas A&M (11-4, 3-4 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Eastern New Mexico • Saturday, Jan. 19 • 4:00 p.m. • The Field House
CANYON, Texas – Another sluggish shooting night comes back to haunt A&M-Commerce as the Lions fell to West Texas A&M 67-53 at the First United Bank Center in Canyon. It is the second-straight defeat for A&M-Commerce, which scored its second-lowest points output of the season, falling to 10-7 on the year and 3-4 in Lone Star Conference play.
The Lions once again struggled from the floor, hitting just 35.7 percent of their shots (20-of-56), including just two-of-seven from three-point range. A&M-Commerce hit 61.1 percent from the free throw line (11-of-18), but one of the major discrepancies occurred on the boards as the Lions, the LSC's leading rebounding team, was outrebounded 46-29 by the Buffs.
For the second-straight game A&M-Commerce struggled to generate points as the 53 points was the second-lowest output of the season, second to the 51-point performance at Cameron Saturday. No Lions finished in double figures on the night as Stefon Carson and Andrew Davis led the way with nine points.
Four other Lions finished with six points on the evening, comprised of Devondrick Walker, Jason Smith, Quince Jackson and Preston Whitley. The six points for Whitley also signified a career milestone as he now has 1,001 points for his A&M-Commerce career, marking the second player in as many years to join the Lion 1,000-point club.
Davis led the way with eight rebounds for the Lions with Walker adding six boards. Smith had three offensive rebounds on the night, matching Davis' output, with a pair of assists and a pair of steals.
In the past four games, A&M-Commerce had developed a habit of falling behind early in the game, and Wednesday night's game was no different. The Buffs jumped out to a 19-10 lead midway through the first half, forcing the Lions to fight from behind once again. A&M-Commerce pulled to within three at 19-16, but West Texas A&M remained strong on its home court, taking a 30-24 lead into the halftime break.
The second half didn't play out much better for the Lions as the Buffs continued to slowly pull away, building a 19-point advantage at 54-35 at the midway point of the second half.
A&M-Commerce continued to battle and began to chip away at the West Texas A&M advantage, pulling to within eight at 59-51 with 3:24 remaining off a lay-up and free throw by Davis. But the Buffs quickly thwarted the late Lion rally, using a 6-0 run to reclaim a 14-point lead at 65-51 before cruising to the 67-53 victory.
The victory for West Texas A&M is the fifth-straight over A&M-Commerce as the Buffs improve to 48-28 in the all-time series. Darnell Jackson led the way for West Texas A&M, finishing with 16 points while Donald Sims added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Barry Johnson (11 points) and Nate Drayton (10 points) also finished in double figures for the Buffs who pulled even with A&M-Commerce in the Lone Star Conference standings.
A&M-Commerce now returns to the Field House hosting Eastern New Mexico in a Saturday matinee. The game against the Greyhounds marks the Lions' "Gold Out" game for the 2012-13 season with fans encouraged to wear gold and pack the Field House, with free gold t-shirts handed out to those who need one.
Opening tip against the Greyhounds is scheduled for 4 p.m., but fans are encouraged to arrive for the women's game at 2 p.m. as head coach Sam Walker will be honored with the game ball from his 202nd career victory during halftime of the women's game. Full coverage of the game (video, audio and stats) will also be available at LionAthletics.com.