Men’s basketball hangs on to defeat Kingsville 74-72 in a physical battle — LINK
KINGSVILLE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team beat A&M-Kingsville 74-72 on Thursday night. The Lions pushed their lead to double digits midway through the first half and withstood a late push by the Javelinas to get the win.
The win brings the Lions to 11-2 on the season and 4-1 in the Lone Star Conference. The Javelinas fall to 7-5 on the season and 0-3 in conference play. It was just the second win for the Lions in Kingsville in the last 13 seasons.
The Lions will now head to Angelo State on Saturday to take on the No. 5 ranked team in the country. The game will start at 4 p.m. at the Junell Center in San Angelo. The game will follow the A&M-Commerce women’s basketball team’s contest.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Malik Albert led the Lions with 20 points, getting half of his points from the free-throw line.
– Trey Seymore had 17 points to go along with five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.
– Montrell Little had nine points and eight rebounds.
– The Lions lost the turnover battle but won the battle of points off of turnovers.
– The Lions had 45 bench points and 14 fast break points.
– There was a total of 56 foul calls in the game. A&M-Commerce shot 44 free throws.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions started cold from the field, missing their first four shots. The Javelinas jumped out to an early 15-5 run before the Lions broke the drought with a three and another bucket in the paint. That was followed by a three-point play from Marquieth Russell to send the Lions on an 8-0 run, cutting the lead to just two with 11 minutes to play in the first half.
The Lions tied the game on a jumper by Carson. They took their first lead of the match with five minutes to play in the first half. The Lions had consecutive steals that led to layups, pushing their lead to 28-21 with four minutes left in half.
That was part of a 14-1 run that pushed the Lion lead to double digits late in half. The Lions pushed their lead to as many as 13 in the first half. A late three from the Javelinas sent the Lions into halftime leading 37-27.
Seymore led the Lions with 11 points at the break. He also had three rebounds. Albert and Washington each added six points for the Lions. The Lions shot 52 percent in the first half and held the Javelinas to 26 percent shooting. A&M-Kingsville went just 3-of-17 from behind the arc.
Points were sparse for both teams early in the second half, as each team made just one bucket in the first four minutes of the frame. The teams started to hit shots, each trading buckets as the Lions maintained their double-digit lead for the first 10 minutes of the half.
Commerce started to pull away with 12 minutes to go in the game. They pushed the lead to 16 with 10 minutes to go, their largest lead of the match.
However, the Javelinas would not quit, cutting the lead back down to single digits on an 8-0 run. However, the Lions would respond in turn. The Javelinas pressured the ball, and Albert took advantage, drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. A&M-Commerce drove into the lane and also made contested baskets, earning a 13-point lead with five minutes to play.
The Javelinas made a late push to cut the lead down to just five in the final two minutes. The Lions committed several turnovers to aid the Javelinas. The Lions also struggled from the free-throw line down the stretch. The Lions never lost the lead despite the lead cut to a single point.
With two seconds to play, the Lions had a two-point lead and were guarding the inbound. Officials put the ball in near the half court line, and a desperate heave was blocked by Seymore to seal the win.
HEAD COACH SAM WALKER
On the overall performance of the Lions
“We played well. I told our guys I didn’t want them getting their heads down. We have a lead, and you feel like you blow it – but we didn’t blow it. But when you step to the free throw line and miss free throws, that’s going to happen. You’ve got to find a way – you’ve got to get stops, you’ve got to get key rebounds, you’ve got to get steals.”
On the last few minutes of the game
“I apologized to the team. I told them they would miss some free throws; that’s going to happen. Nobody wants to make a free throw more than the guy that’s shooting it. How do we execute and how do we play together? We did that well, and we got put in some situations that I as the head coach have not put them in during practice. We’ve not been at the end of the game situations like this one before, but that’s a new experience for us, and we haven’t practiced that. That’s on me, but as long as they’re doing what they’re asked and playing with the group effort and the cohesiveness we played with tonight, we’re going to be in a lot of ballgames.”
Director of Athletic Communications | Texas A&M University-Commerce