The Commerce Journal


November 23, 2012

Men’s basketball team splits Tarleton Texan Tip-Off Classic


COMMERCE — Lions ride early lead to 84-76

victory over UT-Permian Basin

Three Lions finished in double figures as A&M-Commerce (3-2) raced out to a commanding first half lead then held off UT-Permian Basin (0-4) in the second half for an 84-76 victory at Wisdom Gym. A&M-Commerce improves to 3-2 on the year, finishing 1-1 at the Tarleton Texan Tip-Off Classic.

The Lion offensive attack was led by senior Andrew Davis and junior Devondrick Walker, both of which finished with 17 points on the night as A&M-Commerce shot 54.3 percent from the floor. Preston Whitley also had his best outing of the season, recording his first double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds, complemented by a team-best six assists.

Kenny Brown and Jason Smith each recorded eight points on the night for A&M-Commerce as Brown added six rebounds, five of which were offensive. Tyrie Wooten and Stefon Carson both finished with seven points as well for the Lions as Wooten notched five assists and a pair of steals.

When A&M-Commerce and UT-Permian Basin squared off last Saturday at the St. Edward’s Shootout in Austin, the Lions used an offensive outburst in the first half to take a commanding halftime lead – a blueprint they followed Saturday evening in Stephenville. Leading 23-19, A&M-Commerce used a 10-2 run to establish a 12-point advantage with 9:11 remaining in the first half.

But A&M-Commerce wasn’t done, as with the score 39-29 three minutes later, the Lions strung together a 12-0 run over a three-minute span, breaking the game open with a 51-29 lead late in the half. The Falcons would cut the gap to 15, scoring the final seven points of the opening stanza as A&M-Commerce took a 51-36 lead into halftime.

A&M-Commerce would push its lead back to 19 early in the second half, leading 55-36 off a layup from Brown with 18:16 to play. UT-Permian Basin would put together a charge of its own, using an 11-0 run to pull to within six at 62-56 with 10 minutes to play.

UT-Permian Basin continued to chip away at the A&M-Commerce advantage, getting the game down to a one-possession affair, trailing by three at 76-73 with just under three minutes remaining. But the Lions were able to hit key free throws when it counted, hitting five-of-seven down the stretch, and stepping it up defensively to squeak out the hard-fought 84-76 victory.

A&M-Commerce improves to 2-0 all-time against UT-Permian Basin, outshooting the Falcons from three-point range (50.0 percent to 34.8 percent) and from the free throw line (77.8 percent to 55.6 percent) to outlast the Falcons. The Lions were especially efficient in the first half, hitting 57.1 percent of their shots from the floor, including 71.4 percent from beyond the arc and 87.5 percent from the free throw line.

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