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TAMUC – Sports

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MEN’S BASKETBALL

A&M-Commerce tripped up by UT Permian Basin on final day of regular season

ODESSA – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team closed the regular season on Saturday with an 86-69 loss to the UT Permian Basin Falcons.

The Lions end the regular season with a record of 18-9 overall and 10-8 in the Lone Star Conference. They will play in the quarterfinals of the LSC Championship on Friday with the time, seeding, and opponent yet to be determined.

UTPB wins the LSC regular season championship at 23-5 overall and 14-4 in the league.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Four Lions scored in double digits, led by 12 points from Montrell Little, who also grabbed five rebounds.
– Trey Seymore scored 11 points and had a team-best three assists.
– Dorian Armstrong recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Trey Washington scored 10 points off of the bench.
– UTPB shot 52.6 percent from the floor (30-of-57), including 11 three-pointers. A&M-Commerce was limited to a 37.0 shooting percentage (20-of-54) with only five triples.
– UTPB also held a 40-32 rebounding advantage.

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions outshot the Falcons in the early going, taking a quick lead in the opening minute of play on a Little three-point play. UTPB scored five straight to swing the lead in its favor, and the game went back and forth from there.

Washington hit a three-pointer at the 12:32 mark, cutting the hosts’ lead to three points at 17-14. After he had nailed another triple at the 11:06 mark to put the margin at three, the Falcons scored eight straight and led 28-17 with 7:36 left in the first half.

The Lions scored the next seven points in a row, and a Little layup made it a four-point game again with 5:45 left in the opening frame. The margin was at four points again after a pair of Seymore free throws at the 3:29 mark, but UTPB quickly extended the lead to 11. A&M-Commerce scored two free throws late and went to the locker room trailing 41-32.

The Lions four points early in the second half to get back within six points, a margin that held with 16:25 to go on a pair of Malik Albert free throws to make it 48-42.

From there, UTPB turned on the gas, going on a 10-0 run and holding the Lions scoreless for three minutes. The hosts were suddenly up by 16 with the surge at 58-42 after a Zeldric King three-point play with 13:30 on the clock.

UTPB took that momentum swing and ran with it, as the Lions would get no closer than 14 points the rest of the way. The Falcons led by as many as 26 late, but the Lions showed some fight and got the final margin back down to 17 points.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Lions post second 20-win season in history after 78-69 victory over UTPB — LINK

ODESSA– The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team got a come-from-behind 78-69 win over UT-Permian Basin on Saturday. The Lions trailed by as many as nine but rallied in the fourth quarter to get the win.

The win brings the Lions to 20-8 on the season and 14-6 in the Lone Star Conference. It is the second 20-win season for the Lions in their history. The Lions finish fourth in the LSC. UTPB falls to 7-20 and 3-17 in conference play, finishing in 10th.

The Lions will return to action on Friday as they play in the quarterfinal round of the LSC postseason tournament. The Lions go in as the fourth seed and will face No. 5 Tarleton State. The game will begin at 6 p.m. at the Allen Events Center in Allen, Texas. Should the Lions advance, they would play again on Saturday with a potential Sunday matchup for the LSC Championship.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Artaejah Gay scored a career-high 31 points to lead all scorers. She shot 12-of-17 from the field and 4-of-5 from behind the arc. She moved into the top 10 in school history in field goals made. She scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.
– Krystal Pickron had 15 points, scoring 10 points from the free throw line. She also had five assists and seven rebounds.
– Khala Riley neared a double-double with nine points and ten rebounds and co-led the Lions with five assists.
– Brianna Wise had nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
– The Lions scored 30 points in the paint and only gave up 10 points inside.
– A&M-Commerce also had 15 second-chance points on 18 offensive rebounds. The Lions outrebounded UTPB 51-26.
– Briana Caro and Niva Taito co-led the Falcons with 16 points. Heather Crittenden added 14 points for UTPB

HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions had two layups to lead off the game and took a quick 4-0 lead. The Lions were able to score at will early inside the paint, scoring their first five baskets inside the lane. Midway through the first quarter, the Lions led 11-5. Five different Lions got on the board early.

The Falcons went on a run of their own to close out the first quarter. The Lions hit a cold spell from the field, especially from behind the arc. Meanwhile, UTPB caught fire from deep, hitting consecutive threes to tie the game at 11. Gay was the primary scorer for the Lions. She had a three and a layup late to get the Lions to 16, but UTPB matched them, and Lion’s game tied after the first quarter.

The Lions started the second quarter on a tear, scoring the first 13 points of the quarter. Gay and Riley both hit threes to open up the quarter. Gay had another layup, and Wise hit a layup on an assist from Riley and Pickron hit a three of her own. The score was 29-16 with six minutes to go in the half.

The Lions hit another cold spell that UTPB took advantage of to end the quarter. After the teams had traded baskets twice, UTPB finished the second half on a 10-1 run, holding the Lions scoreless for the final two minutes of the half. The Lions took a slim 36-35 lead into the second half.

Gay led all scorers with 16 points, shooting 7-of-10 from the field. Riley added five points, six rebounds, and four assists. Caro and Crittenden each had 10 points for UTPB.

The Falcons continued their rally out of the break, scoring the first four points of the second half to take the lead. The Lions had missed their first four shots before Riley got the Lions on the board in the second half. The Falcons brought their lead to seven points.

Pickron got to the free throw line in the Lions’ three two possessions, hitting five of six to cut into the UTPB lead down to just two. However, the Lion shooting woes continued while UTPB continued its hot shooting from behind the arc. The Falcons hit another three, and the Lions trailed by nine with three minutes to play in the third.

The Lions rallied late in the quarter. Jordan Williams had three points, and Gay hit another layup. Pickron hit a layup with three seconds left in the quarter to send the Lions into the fourth quarter trailing 58-54.

Wise hit a three to start the scoring in the fourth quarter. The teams traded baskets for the first five minutes of the quarter. Jenna Price scored four points in the fourth, and then Gay hit back-to-back shots. With 5:26 remaining, the Lions retook the lead.

They would never give it back. Gay hit a three to finish her 7-0 run, and after three Pickron free throws, Gay hit another three to complete a 12-0 run for A&M-Commerce. The Lions led pushed their lead to as many as 11 late in the quarter.

SOFTBALL

Lions drop two games to No. 3 St. Mary’s in home opener — LINK
COMMERCE– The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team dropped both of their games on Saturday to No. 3 St. Mary’s University in their home opener. The Lions lost 6-3 in the first game and 6-5 in the second match.

The losses drop the Lions to 10-5 on the season. The Rattlers improve to 16-2 on the year.

The Lions return to action on Tuesday with a doubleheader against St. Edward’s University. The games are at 3 and 5 p.m. at the John Cain Family Softball Complex.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Katie Dean recorded eight strikeouts in the first match, a season high for her. It tied her career high.
– Baylea Higgs had three hits in six appearances with two runs scored and a run-batted-in. She also had three steals.
– Mariah Jameyson went 3-of-6 and drove in two runs. She also stole two bases.
– Kinsie Hebler went 2-of-5, including a solo home run to lead off the second game. She drove in three runs, scored twice and drew three walks.
– Ciera Nunez and Tyler Oppenheim both scored two runs. Chealsea Slider had a RBI.
– The Lions were a perfect 8-of-8 stealing base and caught StMU in their only steal attempt.

HOW IT HAPPENED (GAME 1)
The Rattlers threatened in the top of the first inning. The first batter drew a walk and then advanced to second base on a groundout. The next batter singled up the middle but a throw from the outfield kept the runner from scoring. The runner on first was caught stealing, and Dean struck out the batter to get the final out and keep the Rattlers off the board.

The Lions got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Hebler and Higgs both drew walks to lead off the inning. Jameyson then came up and hit a blooping single to center, which loaded the bases. After a fielder’s choice, Slider hit a grounder to first base, but it took an odd hop, and she reached on the error, scoring Higgs. However, that’s all the Lions could do as the next two batters were out.

The first two batters walked in the top of the second inning, but then Dean went to work. After Thompson fielded a bunt and threw out the runner at first on a sacrifice bunt, Dean struck out the next two batters and got out of the inning unscathed. The Lions were unable to get anything going in the bottom of the second and still led 1-0 after two.

Neither team could get a rally going in the fourth inning. Dean recorded another strikeout and two groundouts in the top of the inning. In the bottom, the Lions were also three-up and three-down.

After walking the first batter in the top of the inning, Dean got another strikeout to get the first out of the inning. The next two batters reached base, and the Dean was in a jam. However, she struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning, to get all three outs with batters standing at the plate. On the other side of the inning, the Lions went three-up and three-down, and the Lions still clung to their one-run lead.

The Rattlers again threatened in the top of the fifth. After the first two batters had grounded out, STMU got back-to-back hits, including a double that just touched fair down the left field line. With runners on second and third, Dean recorded another groundout and got out of the inning.

The Lions went to work in the bottom of the fifth. Oppenheim and Nunez both reached on bunt hits, and both stole second base, bring two runners in scoring position with no outs. Hebler came up next and singled through the middle of the infield and scored both runners. The Lions had another stolen base in the inning but could not get another runner around and led 3-0 after five innings.

Dean recorded another strikeout in the top of the sixth inning, and the Rattlers again could not get a rally going. The Lions also struggled in the bottom half of the inning, with all three batters striking out.

The Rattlers’ offense finally came alive in the top of the seventh inning. The Lion defense struggled and that helped StMU. After recording the first out, the next batter hit a solo shot over the left-field fence to get the Rattlers on the board. After two more batters had got on base, the Lions recorded the second out, but then things started to snowball. A wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position then back-to-back doubles scored three runs to give StMU their first lead of the game. Another run crossed the plate on an error and StMU had a 6-3 lead.

The Lions were unable to get a rally going in the bottom of the seventh and dropped the first game.

HOW IT HAPPENED (GAME 2)
After the team had retired the first two batters in order, the third Rattler batter tripled down the right field line, and a runner was in scoring position. However, the next batter grounded out, and the Lions escaped the inning.

It took no time at all for the Lions to get on the board. Hebler led off and smashed a ball over the left-field fence to start the bottom of the first inning for her fourth homer of the season. That was all the Lions could muster, and they led 1-0 after the first inning.

The Lions recorded three groundouts in the top of the second inning and then built on their lead in the bottom of the inning. Oppenheim reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs. She proceeded to steal second and consecutive walks loaded the bases for the Lions. Higgs came to the plate next and through the right side of the field to score two runs. Higgs stole second base to put two runners in scoring position, and Jameyson singled up the middle to drive in two more runs. The Lions led 5-0.

The Rattlers got on the board in the top of the third inning. After the first two outs, the Rattlers drew a walk and then the next batter reached on an error. Another walk loaded the bases, and a double by the next batter brought all base runners to the plate. The Lions were three-up and three-down in the bottom of the inning and led 5-3.

StMU had two home runs in the top of the fourth inning, the second a two-run shot to give them their first lead of the second game. The Lions looked to rally and had runners on second and third with two outs but could not get them around and the Lions trailed 6-5 going into the fifth inning.

Both teams had errors in the fifth inning to get base runners on, but neither team could get a run across and the game was still 6-5 going into the sixth inning.

After a leadoff single, the Lion defense buckled down, and three groundouts ended the top half of the inning. The Lions had a chance to even up the score in the bottom half of the sixth. After a leadoff strikeout, Higgs singled to center field, and Jameyson singled to put two runners on. Both runners advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch, but the runners could not get around, and the Lions went into the seventh inning trailing by one.

After recording three-up and three-down in the top of the inning, the Lions had one final chance to tie the game or take the lead. However, StMU retired them in order.


Josh Manck
Assistant Athletics Director for Communications | Texas A&M University-Commerce