EARLY DEFICIT PROVES COSTLY IN 68-55 LOSS AT TARLETON STATE
Tarleton State 68, A&M-Commerce 55
Location: Wisdom Gym · Stephenville, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (11-9, 4-6 LSC); Tarleton State (12-6, 5-5 LSC)
Up Next: vs. Abilene Christian · Wednesday, Feb. 6 · 7:30 p.m. · The Field House
STEPHENVILLE, Texas – Tarleton State set the tone early Saturday evening against A&M-Commerce, racing out to an early 15-2 lead and never looking back as the Texans sweep the home-and-home series with a 68-55 victory over the Lions. A&M-Commerce drops to 11-9 on the season and 4-6 in Lone Star Conference play as the Lions now sit in eighth-place in the LSC standings.
Devondrick Walker paced the A&M-Commerce offense with 19 points on the night, including hitting five of his six three-point attempts, with five rebounds. Preston Whitley added 12 points and five boards for the Lions with Andrew Davis having another solid outing, leading A&M-Commerce with eight rebounds while adding seven points.
It was a game that, on paper, looked as if it should have gone in the Lions' favor as A&M-Commerce shot better from the floor than the Texans (43.9% to 42.6%) as well as from three-point range (50.0% to 34.8%). But 15 turnovers compared to just eight for Tarleton State as well as a handful more offensive rebounds for the Texans helped provide the edge they needed.
One week after seeing a double-digit first half lead squandered in a 70-61 loss to the Texans, the Lions were hoping to repay the favor at Wisdom Gym. But a Tarleton State three-pointer to open the game set the tone for the evening as the Texans would reel off 15 of the game's first 17 points, putting A&M-Commerce in a 13-point hole through the first five minutes of regulation.
Thanks to Walker's three-point shooting and some tough defense, the Lions were able to mount a run of their own, outscoring the Texans 15-4 to pull to within two at 19-17 with 10:30 remaining in the opening half. But Tarleton State continued to increase its lead, building a 34-23 lead at the break after holding the Lions to just two points over the final six minutes of the half.
After pulling to within nine at 34-25 early in the second, another extended scoring drought helped Tarleton State push its lead to 48-32 as the Texans were in control on their home court. A&M-Commerce mounted one final rally, pulling to within nine at 49-40, but the Texans were able to keep the Lions at bay to earn the 68-55 victory, their seventh-straight over A&M-Commerce.
Chuck Guy led the way for Tarleton State with 25 points and six rebounds while Coleman Furst and Brian Word each added 11 for the Texans who pull even in conference play and move a full game ahead of A&M-Commerce in the conference standings. Damion Clemons also had seven points and seven rebounds for Tarleton State.
The Lions return home for a quick one-game homestand as they are in the midst of playing three of their next four games on the road. A&M-Commerce welcomes longtime rival Abilene Christian to the Field House for possibly the final time on Wednesday, February 6th. Opening tip will be at approximately 7:30 p.m. with full coverage (video, audio, stats) available at LionAthletics.com.