By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
Texas A&M University-Commerce came out on top in a nail biting, back-and-forth game against Eastern New Mexico University that ended with senior Kameron Price sealing the 74-73 win in the opening round of the Lone Star Conference tournament with only nine seconds left.
A&M-Commerce, now 20-8, went out early with a 15-13 lead in the first five minutes, hitting five out of the first eight shots from the field, including two three pointers.
Lions head coach Sam Walker said although the Lions stumbled through most of the game, near the end they were able to get back to their gameplay.
“Over the course of the game we got back to the way we play,” he said. “It’s swing it, swing it swing it, then bring it to the rim.”
The Lions began to pull away midway through the first half, scoring eight unanswered points, putting them up 21-13 in the first 10 minutes of play.
The Lions won on the boards as well, grabbing 35 rebounds to the Greyhounds’ 33.
Price led the Lions in rebounding with five, and contributed 13 points on the way to the Lions win.
LaDon Carnegie led the way in scoring early on, with eight points on three for six shooting in the first half.
The Greyhounds, 14-14, made a strong comeback, leading the Lions 26-23 at the 8:22 mark after The Lions cooled off, missing five straight field goals against a tough Greyhound defense.
The Lions were in foul trouble in the first half, stowing a few comeback attempts with traveling and blocking fouls, totaling 12 fouls in the first half.
Greyhound Rodney Blackmon took advantage of the fouls, hitting all four shots on his trips to the free throw line, leading all scorers with nine points at the 4:22 mark in the first half.
Turnovers plagued the Lions once again, with eight assists against eight turnovers in the first half.
Lion Eddie Leal hit a clutch three pointer to stop the bleeding with under a minute to play in the first half, but was answered with a Greyhound three pointer of their own to end the first half at 47-39.
The Greyhounds came out with a strong start in the second half, keeping the Lions at bay with three pointers, leading 58-47 in the first few minutes, with Greyhound Rafael Love on fire from behind the three point line, hitting four of eight shots behind the mark.
Carnegie fouled out early on in the first half, removing one of the Lions’ top scoring threats.
Lion center Craig Fofang quickly answered a Greyhound three-pointer with an emphatic dunk, cutting the Greyhound lead to below double digits, and was followed quickly by a three pointer from fellow teammate Daniel Ehambe, to cut the Greyhound lead to 58-52 at the 12:08 mark.
Ehambe quickly hit another three pointer with a defender in his face to bring it to within three a few seconds later.
After hitting two free throws, Tyrie Wooten brought the Lions to within three points, 62-59 at the seven minute mark. Wooten ended as the Lions high scorer, with 16 points and nine of 10 from the free throw line.
The Lions clawed back to within one point, but the Greyhounds answered back to bring it to 71-66 with under three minutes to play.
The Lions made a stellar comeback after two free throws from Price, giving the Lions a one point lead, 74-73 with nine seconds left, and held on to win with that score.
The Lions will play number-one seed Tarleton State again after upsetting them in the last game of the regular season today at 8:30 p.m. at the Allen Special Events Center.