No. 24 Lions Hot 2nd Half Propels Them Over No. 23 Tarleton (Slideshow)
The No. 24 Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team shrugged off a slow start to extend their winning streak to eight games after defeating No. 23 Tarleton, 76-64, Thursday night in the Commerce Field House.
A&M-Commerce found themselves down 39-28 before a hot shooting second half got them right back in the mix in this battle of ranked Lone Star Conference teams. The Lions (13-2) attacked on the offensive end, shooting 52.9 percent and clamped down defensively holding the Texans to 25 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes. Tyree Robinson and Willie Rooks accounted for 31 of the Lions 48 second half points as they outscored the Texans 48-25 in the final half.
"How about the tale of two halves,” said head coach Jaret Von Rosenberg. “We've talked about it before. It was funny because neither team played 40 minutes. I told the refs pretty early that I had the best seat in the house, getting to watch two really good teams compete at a high level. This game was one we needed to win more than them, just from the standpoint that we've got to take care of home court in the Lone Star. It's so tough to go on the road. They were really good. We started hitting some shots in the second half and were able to get some stops and you just saw us slowly get back into the game, then take the lead with about seven minutes left."
This game marked the 71st meeting in program history with the Texans still leading the series at 37-34. The Lions are now 2-1 against Tarleton under Von Rosenberg and undefeated in the Field House.
Stat leaders for the Texans (12-3) begins with the guy usually stuffing the box score in Josh Hawley who led the team in points with 19 and a team-high thirteen rebounds. Hawley leads the LSC in scoring and rebounding and has now grabbed his seventh double-double in 15 games. Corinthian Ramsey was the only other Texan to score in double figures with 14 points and a game-high eight assists. The Texans went ice cold in the second half after a strong first half and it was largely in part due to the Lion defense and made just seven shots in the second half.
The Lions dominated in multiple categories in the second half that led to the comeback. A&M-Commerce controlled the paint in the second half leading 26-8 in paint points. Coach Rose’s team also led in points off of turnovers 15-4 in the second half after forcing eight turnovers.
"What a great crowd tonight,” said Coach Rose on the fan support. “School's not back in session. We'll have students start trickling back into town this weekend with classes starting next week. The community and the university really came out, and they were loud and they supported us. We need that little extra boost playing at home. When we get rolling at home offensively, it's fun to watch."
Leaders for the Lions in the game include Tyree Robinson who led in points and rebounds with 26 points and eight rebounds. A pair of Lions scored in double digits with big contributions as well starting with Willie Rooks having 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists with Trey Conrod adding 11 points and seven rebounds. Reggie Reid came away with a team-high seven assists. Reid is the league leader in assists this season.
Next Matchup: The Lions will travel to Canyon for their second ranked LSC matchup in row to take on the No. 8 West Texas A&M Buffaloes at 7:30 p.m. in the First United Bank Center. The game can be heard on the Lions Sports Network 88.9FM or www.ketr.org.