A college basketball coach never relaxes until the victory is at hand.
A case in point was Texas A&M University-Commerce’s 84-77 Lone Star Conference victory over Eastern New Mexico on Saturday in the Field House. Even though the Lions rolled up a quick 23-4 lead and stayed in front except for one brief moment, A&M-Commerce coach Sam Walker didn’t count on career victory No. 203 until it was over.
“At no point in the game did I think we were out of the dark,” he said.
Walker, now the Lions’ winningest coach of all time, learned a long time ago that there are no easy victories in this conference.
“Every game’s tough,” he said. “There’s not a night off.”
A&M-Commerce won a big game even though its leading scorer for the season, Preston Whitley, did not play due to technical reasons. Whitley, who’s averaging 14.6 points, sat out after receiving his third technical foul of the season in the Lions’ 67-53 loss at West Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
Devondrick Walker, who had been averaging 8.4, picked up the slack with 17 points off 6-of-10 shooting.
“It’s a huge win,” said Devondrick Walker. “It sits us at 4-4 in the conference. A loss would have put us close to last so it was huge.”
The A&M-Commerce junior from South Garland credited his head coach for the fast start.
“He fires us up every day.”
Armed with the third-leading scorer in the conference, the Greyhounds battled back to within 34-30 and 38-34 before halftime. Rafael Love hit a 3-pointer and scored on a layup to give the Greyhounds their only lead at 52-50 with 13:58 remaining. The Lions responded with a 13-1 run keyed by Craig Fofang, Stefon Carson and Devondrick Walker.
Adboulaye N’doye, the Lions’ 7-foot center from Senegal, also gave them a big lift with an alley oop slam off a feed from Walker and then a blocked shot at the other end as A&M-Commerce’s lead went back up to double digits.
Love and Rodney Blackmon, the LSC’s third-leading scorer, would not give up and hit some big buckets to bring the Greyounds to within 75-72 with 4:22 remaining.
But Tyrie Wooten, Kenny Brown and Walker answered with clutch shots to put the Lions back up 82-75 and Jason Smith and Stefon Carson added a couple of free throws to ensure the victory as the Lions improved to 11-7 for the season.
Eastern New Mexico, which had been tied with the Lions for fifth place in the conference, dropped to 6-10 and 3-5.
Carson finished with 13 points for the Lions, while Andrew Davis added 10 points and nine rebounds and Quince Jackson finished with 10 points.
Blackmon, who was 7-of-13 from downtown, led the Greyhounds and all scorers with 25 points and Love finished with 19 points.
One key statistic that Sam Walker pointed out was the Lions’ 50-35 rebound advantage. All those rebounds helped the coach rest a little easier.
Lone Star Conference basketball
Eastern N.M. 36 41 —77
A&M-Commerce 41 43 —84
EASTERN N.M. (77)
Rodney Blackmon 9-23 0-0 25, Rafael Love 8-18 1-1 19, Kyle Lantz 3-7 0-0 8, Dennis Hardwell 3-9 0-0 7, Jordan Awoye 0-0 0, Dylan Houlihan 1-1 0-0 2, Greg McFarland 2-5 2-4 6, Jordan Romero 0-2 0, Deyton De La Cerda 0-0 0-0 0, Lawrene Doming0 2-6 0-0 4, Phil Henry 3-6 0-2 6. Totals 31-77 12-32 77.
Tyrie Wooten 1-7 3-6 5, Jason Smith 1-4 3-4 6, Stefon Carson 5-12 1-4 13, Andrew Davis 5-6 0-0 10, Kenny Brown 4-8 0-0 9, Devondrick Walker 6-10 3-4 17, Quince Jackson 3-7 2-2 10, Craig Fofang 3-4 0-0 6, Donavon Gage 3-5 0-1 6, Abdoulaye N’Doye 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-64 12-21 84.
3-point goals — ENMU 12-32 (Blackmon 7-13, Love 2-9, Lantz 2-5, Hardwell 1-2, Romero 0-2, Domingo 0-1), A&M-C 8-19 (Wooten 4, Smith 1-2, Carson 2-5, Brown 1-1, Walker 2-3, Jackson 2-4); rebounds — A&M-C 50 (Davis 9), ENMU 35 (Henry 8); assists — A&M-C 26 (Wooten 8), ENMU 15 (Blackmon 7); total fouls — ENMU 20 (fouled out: Blackmon), A&M-C 6; attendance — 808.
Records: A&M-C 11-7, 4-4; ENMU 6-10, 3-5.
Next game: Tarleton State at A&M-Commerce, 4 p.m. Saturday.
A college basketball coach never relaxes until the victory is at hand.
White team outscores Red in Lions' spring game
T.J. Hughes kicked field goals of 37 and 30 yards to give the White team a 20-14 victory over the Red in the Greenville Lions’ spring football game on Thursday night at T.A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium.
Hughes put the White team ahead for good with the 37-yarder with 8:06 remaining and then added the 30-yarder after Jeremy Myers-Wise’s 7-yard touchdown run was called back because of a holding penalty.
Quarterback battle to highlight Red-White game
Three quarterbacks competing for the starting job will show their skills tonight at the Greenville Lions’ Red-White spring football game.
Bobby Holley shoots 720 series
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Kerry Sheehan led the women with a 552 series in the Monday Summer Mix.
A&M-Commerce adds softball to athletic program
Coming soon, Texas A&M University-Commerce will no longer be the only school in the Lone Star Conference to not have a softball program.
A&M-Commerce President Dan Jones made the announcement during a press conference held inside the Alumni Center on Monday.
“I am thrilled about the addition of this program,” he said, mentioning that A&M-Commerce is one of the oldest universities in Texas and the only charter member left of the original LSC. “As long as we’ve been here, we’ve never had a womens softball program.”
No. 1 Pilot Point stops Commerce
Pilot Point’s Skylar Cagle showed why she’s one of the state’s top pitchers while leading the Lady Bearcats to a sweep over Commerce in a Class 2A regional semifinal softball series on Friday night.
Cagle struck out 22 batters in 14 innings as No. 1 state-ranked Pilot Point won 1-0 and 3-2 to advance to the regional finals. Cagle improved her season record to 23-0 as Pilot Point upped its team mark to 36-2.
Commerce finished the season with a 27-7 record after advancing the farthest in the playoffs in school history.
Commerce Lady Tigers to face No. 1 ranked team
Tonight the Commerce Lady Tigers will play Pilot Point, the No. 1 ranked softball team in the state.
But to Commerce Jeff Davidson, it’ll be just another game.
“It’s still another game,” he said. “It’s their best against our best.”
The Lady Tigers will face Pilot Point at 6 p.m. in Mount Pleasant at Northeast Texas Community College in the first game of a best-of-three Class 2A regional semifinal playoff series. Game two is set for 8:30 p.m. and if need be, game three is at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Northeast Texas Trail ride planned
The organizers of the new Northeast Texas Trail (NETT) have scheduled its inaugural event to introduce the multi-use trail to potential users.
On Saturday at 7 am, teams of cyclists and equestrians will begin separate relays from trailheads in New Boston and Farmersville. The meeting point will be Love Civic Center in Paris (2025 S. Collegiate Dr.). Estimated time of arrival is at 2:30 p.m. Golden spikes will be driven into the ground at various points along the route which was originally a railroad corridor.
Wilson wins gold, silver at state track meet
Buck Wilson of Commerce won gold and silver medals this weekend at the state meet while Rains pole vaulter Charlotte Brown won over a lot of hearts.
GHS athletics hands out awards
The Greenville Lions held their Athletic Banquet at the Greenville High School Auditorium Saturday evening.
Storms test area athletes' patience
Patience was a necessity for local athletes competing on Friday at the University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Championships in Austin.
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