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MEN’S BASKETBALL

No. 19 Lions Fall 84-61 to UTPB — LINK
COMMERCE– The No. 19 Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team fell 84-61 against UT-Permian Basin on Thursday. The Lions fell behind early in the game and could not recover.

The loss brings the Lions to 13-4 on the season and 5-3 in the Lone Star Conference. The Falcons jump to 13-4 and 5-3 in conference play.

The Lions return to action on Saturday as they host West Texas A&M for College of Business Fill the Field House in a matchup of nationally ranked squads. WT is 6-2 in conference play. The game will start at 4 p.m. at the Field House. Fans will receive free admission to both the men’s and women’s basketball games against WT.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Jovan Austin led the Lions with 18 points and three assists. He shot 7-of-12 from the field.
– Malik Albert added 15 points and five rebounds. Albert went 8-of-11 from the free throw line.
– The Lions struggled from the field, shooting 34 percent overall and 20 percent from behind the arc.
– UTPB shot 49 percent from the field and shot 38 percent from three. The Falcons also had 38 points in the paint.
– The Lions shot 75 percent from the free throw line, their highest percentage since Dec. 3.
– The Falcons had five players score in double figures, led by Daeshon Francis with 16 points. James McPherson and Johnnie Lacy each added 15 for UTPB.

HOW IT HAPPENED
With the score tied at five early in the game, UTPB started on a 15-2 run. The Falcons used the three-ball to their advantage as they made four of their first six shots from behind the arc. With 13 minutes to play in half, the Lions trailed 20-7.

The Lions responded with a rally of their own. Albert hit a three and a jumper as part of the Lion rally. Albert had seven consecutive points, and the Lions went on a 15-5 run. The Lions began to better contest shots, and for a spell, the Lions looked to turn the tide.

However, the Falcons continued to shoot the three-ball well and built their lead back up to double figures with four minutes to play in half. The Lions were held without a field goal for more than four minutes as they hit a cold spell and the Falcons capitalized. A&M-Commerce trailed 42-29 at halftime.

Albert and Austin both had seven points to lead the Lions at halftime. De’Andre Carson added five and Dorian Armstrong had nine rebounds in the first half. McPherson had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from deep in the first half. Francis added 10 points and had four rebounds.

The Lions shot 27 percent from the field in the first half but shot 11-of-12 from the free throw line in the first half.

The Lions cut the UTPB lead down to 11 before the Falcons went on a 6-0 run to bring the lead to its largest margin yet. The lead had got to as many as 20 before the Lions started to chip into the lead. A three from Montrell Little accompanied by the Lions getting into the lane and drawing fouls got the lead down to 14 with 12 minutes to play.

However, that’s as close as the Lions were able to get the game. UTPB continued to shoot a high percentage, and the Lions continued to struggle from the field and the lead pushed to more than 20 in the final minutes.
Women’s basketball survives late run to hold off UTPB 74-67 — LINK
COMMERCE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team defeated UT-Permian Basin 74-67 on Thursday night. The Lions jumped out to a 19-2 lead early in the game and held off a late rally by the Falcons to get the win.

The win brings the Lions to 12-5 on the season and 6-3 in the Lone Star Conference. The Falcons fall to 5-10 and 2-7 in conference play.

The Lions return to action on Saturday as they host West Texas A&M for College of Business Fill the Field House. WT is also 6-3 in conference play. The game will start at 2 p.m. at the Field House. Fans will receive free admission to both the men’s and women’s basketball games against WT.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– The Lions had three players finish with double-doubles, the first time that has happened this season.
– Artaejah Gay led the Lions with 22 points and ten rebounds. It was her fourth game of the season with at least 20 points and her third double-double of the season.
– Jenna Price had her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and ten rebounds. She continues to average a double-double in conference action.
– Khala Riley neared a triple-double with 11 points, ten rebounds, and seven assists. It is the first double-double of her career.
– Krystal Pickron had 13 points and six rebounds. Brianna Wise added nine points and five rebounds.
– The Lions had 16 second-chance points with 15 offensive rebounds.
– The Lions struggled with turnovers, committing 24 in the game, with a fair amount coming in the final minutes of the match.
– Briana Caro led UTPB with 28 points and eight rebounds. The Falcons shot 31 percent from the field. They also came away with 15 steals in the game.

HOW IT HAPPENED
Both teams started out cold from the field, each missing their first four shots. The Lions finally got on the board two minutes into the game. Gay scored the first nine points for the Lions, scoring in a variety of ways.

The Lions scored the first 12 points of the game, making four consecutive shots after missing their first four. After the Falcons had got on the board for the first time, A&M-Commerce went on another run to push its lead to 19-2.

The Falcons started to find the basket but without much regularity. UTPB shot 19 percent in the first quarter. Gay scored 11 points in the first quarter alone, including a buzzer-beating layup off of an offensive rebound. The Lions led 24-7 after one.

UTPB began to match baskets with the Lions in the second quarter, cutting the Lion lead back down to single digits with three minutes, going on a 12-2 run to get back into the game. The lead was cut down to just five with two minutes left. Caro, who scored 13 points in the second quarter, led the Falcons.

The Lions went on a cold streak, making just three of their final ten shots of the second quarter. However, the Falcons also struggled down the stretch, missing their last five shots of the quarter. The Lions took a 36-29 lead into halftime.

Gay had 13 points in the first half to lead the Lions. She also had five rebounds. Price had seven points and six rebounds. Caro had a game-high 19 points for UTPB at the half. She also led the team with four rebounds.

The Lions shot 34 percent in the first half, shooting 29 percent in the second quarter. UTPB raised their percentage from 19 in the first three-quarters to 31 percent at the end of the half. The Lions had 14 second-chance points and scored 14 points off of nine UTPB turnovers.

The Lions again jumped out of the gate hot in the third quarter. They quickly brought their lead back to double digits, scoring nine of the first 11 points of the quarter. With two free throws and a shot from Wise, the Lions pushed their lead back to 14.

After the early run by the Lions, the teams continued to trade baskets throughout the remainder of the quarter. The Falcons made a late run to trail 54-44 going into the fourth quarter.

The Lions started strong in the fourth quarter, pushing their lead back up to 15 points. Riley continued to be active on the glass and pushing down the floor to find her teammates.

The Falcons continued to pressure the Lions in the backcourt and made a late run to cut the Lion lead to single digits. The Lions committed multiple turnovers late in the game to give UTPB a glimmer of hope, committing seven turnovers in just over a two-minute span. But the Lions held on and made their free throws to come away with the win.
Six Lions Named to Don Hansen All-Super Region Four Team

BROOKFIELD, Ill. – Six Texas A&M University-Commerce football players have been named to the Don Hansen All-Super Region Four Team, as announced by the publication this week.

Two Lions earned the first team all-region honors – offensive lineman Jared Machorro and defensive lineman Tavita Faaiu. Four Lions were named second team all-region – quarterback Luis Perez, kicker Kristov Martinez, cornerback Uriah Harris, and return specialist Shawn Hooks.

Machorro – a junior from Coldspring – adds to a lengthy list of postseason accolades, as he was named an Associated Press Little All-American, and a second team All-American by the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association and the American Football Coaches’ Association. He started every game at tackle for the Lions, who led the Lone Star Conference in scoring offense. The Gene Upshaw Award nominee and first team, all-Lone Star Conference honoree, led an offensive line who blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher and allowed only four sacks in the regular season.

Faaiu – a senior from San Francisco, Calif. – was a first team all-Lone Star Conference honoree, playing in 12 games as a senior for the Lions and leading the team with eight sacks, which ranked second in the LSC. He also had 12 tackles for loss, which led the team and tied for 8th in the LSC. He recorded five other quarterback hits and had 33 total tackles on the season.

Perez – a junior from Chula Vista, Calif. – was a Harlon Hill Trophy nominee and was named first team all-Lone Star Conference at quarterback this season, becoming the first Lion quarterback to earn that honor since Cole Cayce in 1996. He completed 244-of-389 passes for 3,326 yards with 32 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Cayce had over 300 yards passing in five games and had five touchdowns against Eastern New Mexico and UT Permian Basin. He had a career-best 396 yards passing on 34 completions at Panhandle State.

Martinez – a sophomore from Edinburg – earned second-team all-LSC honors as the leading scorer amongst the league’s kickers. He scored 109 points this season on 55-of-58 extra point attempts and 18-of-24 field goals. He had a long of 46 yards against Colorado Mesa in the first round of the playoffs and was also one of the most skilled kickoff specialists in the league.

Harris – a senior from Frostproof, Fla. – earns his second all-region honor of the year, as he was also a D2CCA second team all-region honoree. He was named the LSC Defensive Back of the Year and first team all-LSC, leading a Lion secondary that was tops in the nation in turnover margin. He averaged 4.9 tackles per game, had three tackles for loss, and returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown against West Texas A&M when he was named the LSC Defensive Player of the Week.

Hooks – a junior from Daingerfield – was one of the most explosive return men in the nation. He earned the first-team all-LSC honors as the only player in Division II with three punt returns for touchdowns this year. He scored on punt returns against Western New Mexico, Angelo State, and Tarleton State and averaged 18 yards per punt return in the regular season. He twice won LSC Special Teams Player of the Week.

DON HANSEN’S ALL-SUPER REGION FOUR TEAMS

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB Justin Dvorak Colorado Mines
FB Torrey Thomas Texas A&M-Kingsville
RB Marty Carter Grand Valley State
RB Austin Ekeler Western State
RB Bubba Jenkins Southwest Baptist
WR Trey Brock Hillsdale
WR Jason Moore Findlay
WR Brody Oliver Colorado Mines
TE Adam Shaheen Ashland
AP Keelan Cole Kentucky Wesleyan
C Aaron Cox Grand Valley State
OG Zach Douglass Ashland
OG Hasan Shaar Colorado Mines
OT Jared Machorro A&M-COMMERCE
OT Nate Theaker Wayne State (Mich.)
PK Ryan Sheehan Colorado Mesa

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DE Lucky Baar McKendree
DE Sydney Omameh Grand Valley State
DE Zach Sieler Ferris State
DG/DT Tavita Faaiu A&M-COMMERCE
DG/DT Tanner Leach Alderson Broaddus
LB Anthony Darkangelo Ferris State
LB Rob Dury Indianapolis
LB Michael Fisher Northwood
LB A.J. Wentland McKendree
S Drew Hebel Black Hills State
S Matt McKoy Saginaw Valley State
CB Billy Eakins Ohio Dominican
CB Tavierre Thomas Ferris State
P Zach Smith Chadron State
RS Deandre Black Midwestern State

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB Luis Perez A&M-COMMERCE
QB Antonio Pipkin Tiffin
FB Alex Sherbinow Michigan Tech
RB Romello Brown Wayne State (Mich.)
RB Kamal Cass Eastern New Mexico
RB Brandon Jones Alderson Broaddus
RB Phydell Paris Black Hills State
WR Xavier Ayers Western New Mexico
WR Charles Holland Tiffin
WR Eric Poindexter Quincy
TE Owen Schoenenberger Quincy
TE Cooper Schroeder Alderson Broaddus
AP Braxton Graham Missouri S&T
AP Anthony Mullins William Jewell
C Jake Daughtery Ferris State
C Akoakoa Paleka-Kennedy Midwestern State
OG Andrew Alten Findlay
OG Nathan Brady Grand Valley State
OG Stuart Sanchez Texas A&M-Kingsville
OT Devon Johnson Ferris State
OT Sammy Zeqiraj Southwest Baptist
PK Kristov Martinez A&M-COMMERCE

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DE Brandon Jones Texas A&M-Kingsville
DE Via Manuma Southwest Baptist
DE Sam Reeves Truman
DG/DT Darian  Childers-Brown Midwestern State
DG/DT Vice Epenesa Southwest Baptist
DG/DT Demetrius Farmer Ohio Dominican
LB Derrick Bryant Indianapolis
LB Cody Burtscher Tarleton State
LB Shaun Hutchinson Southwest Baptist
LB David Talley Grand Valley State
S Isaac Dozier Jr. William Jewell
S Michael James Alderson Broaddus
S D’Angelo Tucker Southwest Baptist
CB Adehkeem Brown Quincy
CB Uriah Harris A&M-COMMERCE
CB Korey Rogan Indianapolis
P John Kwiecinski Northern Michigan
RS Shawn Hooks A&M-COMMERCE
RS Cody Paul Chadron State


Josh Manck

Director of Athletic Communications | Texas A&M University-Commerce