The Commerce Journal

Sports

December 13, 2012

Lions triumph over Angelo State, thanks to strong effort from Jason Smith

COMMERCE — Led by a double-double by Jason Smith, the Texas A&M University-Commerce basketball team built a double-digit first half lead, then kept Angelo State at bay in the second half, notching a 75-58 victory over the Rams at the Field House. The Lions increase their winning streak to five games, sitting at 7-2 on the year and 2-0 in Lone Star Conference play.

The win also inches head coach Sam Walker closer to a pair of impressive milestones as he now has 199 career victories, one shy of 200. Walker is also now just three victories away of becoming the all-time winningest coach in A&M-Commerce history.

Smith had a monster performance against the Rams, finishing with 19 points while hitting 7-of-8 shots from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.  Smith also notched 12 rebounds and six assists, sitting within striking distance of a triple-double.

Stefon Carson posted 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists while Andrew Davis just missed notching a double-double himself, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds. Devondrick Walker and Quince Jackson each added eight points in the victory for A&M-Commerce.

The Lions shot a modest 42.4 percent from the floor, struggling from three-point range by hitting just two of its 13 attempts (15.4%). A&M-Commerce’s defense did its part, holding Angelo State to just 31.7% from the floor. But the real discrepancy came at the free throw line as the Lions shot 76.7 percent (23-of-30) while the Rams were only able to hit 44.0 percent of its attempts (11-of-25).

With both A&M-Commerce and Angelo State coming off big victories early in the week, the teams were able to match each other in intensity early in the game. Holding a slim 12-11 lead midway through the half, A&M-Commerce began to make its run, outscoring the Rams 18-5 over the next eight minutes to build a 30-16 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the opening half as Angelo State went nearly five minutes without a point.

A&M-Commerce matched that advantage at 32-18 before taking a 32-20 lead into the halftime break. The Lion defense held the Rams in check as Angelo State shot just 20.0% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, as well as 38.5% from the free throw line.

That momentum would carry over into the second half as the Lions outscored the Rams 7-2 through the opening two minutes as a three-pointer by Tyrie Wooten game A&M-Commerce the 17-point lead at 39-22.

From that point on, the Lion lead was never in serious danger. Angelo State would get the deficit to single digits just once, pulling to within eight at 43-35, but timely baskets and stout defense kept A&M-Commerce’s lead in double-figures for the majority of the game. The Lions would lead by as many as 21 at 75-54 off an old-fashioned three-point play from Smith, cruising to the 75-58 victory.

Angelo State was led by 25 points and nine rebounds from Dakota Rawls with Antonio Dye adding 14 points and six rebounds. The Lions have now won two-straight against the Rams, improving to 42-40 in the all-time series.

The Lions take a step out of Lone Star Conference play, beginning a three-game road trip leading up to the Christmas break. A&M-Commerce makes the short trip into the Metroplex to battle Dallas Baptist on Saturday, December. The Lions rallied from a five-point deficit in the final minute, then notched a 91-87 overtime win against the Patriots at the Field House back on November 13th. Opening tip from the Burg Center is set for 7 p.m.

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