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TAMUC – Sports

Lions pull out 85-82 win over Midwestern State in overtime.

COMMERCE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team saw a late lead vanish in regulation. However, the Lions were still able to pull out an 85-82 overtime win over visiting Midwestern State University on Saturday afternoon. 

The Lions move to 9-4 overall and 5-2 in the Lone Star Conference with the win, while the Mustangs are now 2-10 overall and 2-4 in league play. 

A&M-Commerce will travel south for next week’s action, playing at Texas A&M International in Laredo on Thursday night, then at Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday afternoon. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Both teams shot 28-of-66 from the floor for a 42.4 shooting percentage. MSU made 14-of-32 three-pointers (43.8 percent), while the Lions made 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) long-range shots.

– Wayne Stewart (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored over 20 points for the fourth straight game and fifth time in the last six outings. He finished the game with 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting with 12 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks, marking his first double-double of the season.

– Deon Barrett (Lancaster) returned to the lineup and scored 23 points while passing out five assists with only one turnover. He also drew six fouls and committed none.

– Austin Grandstaff (Rockwall) was the third Lion in double digits with 12 points.

– The Lions led by 11 points in the game but never trailed by more than one.

COACH JARET von ROSENBERG AFTER THE GAME

On the slower pace of the game: “I thought we really went on a stretch where we got stops, executed at a high level and got to the free-throw line, and made some shots. I like that our team can play multiple styles. We can play fast, and we can score when teams want to play fast, and we can slow it down and execute.” 

On the end of regulation and the response in overtime: “Obviously we want to clean up how we ended that game. They banked in some shots, and we’re looking at what can we do differently as a coaching staff and as players. At the end of the day, it’s great resilience to blow a 10 point lead, give up the first point of overtime, then really control it the rest of the way.” 

On the bench’s contributions: “Guys have to make the most of their minutes. Josh Winbush had great minutes and did really good things. He was part of that stretch where we made a run. All in all, I thought everyone who played did some things well and did some things that we need to go back and look at.” 

On the tough finishes in both games this week: “It’s the Lone Star. We played two old LSC teams who we’ve seen a million times, and our fans have seen a million times … It’s going to come down to the last four minutes. We’d like to be cruising with 10 minutes because we’ve got such a big lead, but that’s usually not the case. We’ve got to continue to learn. It’s good to win the games where you’ve got things to clean up, and we were able to do that twice this week.”

HOW IT HAPPENED

It was close the first half of the contest for the entire 20 minutes, as neither team led by more than two possessions at any point. Grandstaff opened the game with a three-pointer, followed by a pair of Mustang baskets. Barrett took the lead back with a trey of his own, and the Lions only fell behind by one point in the rest of the half. 

The Lions were on fire from long distance and at one point were 7-of-8 from behind the arc. After trailing 15-14 with 12:21 left in the first half, A&M-Commerce went on a 10-3 run. Back-to-back triples from Stewart and Barrett pushed the Lion lead to 24-18 with 7:48 to go in the period for the largest lead. 

MSU cut the margin down to one point, but the Mustangs made only one field goal in the last six minutes, and A&M-Commerce took a 35-31 lead into the locker room at the break. Twenty-one of the Lions’ points came from behind the arc. 

The opening stages of the second half were much of the same, as the Lions would go up by two possessions, only to see the Mustangs nearly immediately get the lead back down to three points. It changed after six minutes of play, as Stewart and Darnell Wright (Chicago, Ill.) made consecutive baskets to give A&M-Commerce its largest lead of the game to that point at 48-41 with 13:16 left in regulation. 

Midwestern State was able to cut that lead to two points but got no closer until the end of the regulation periods. The Lions went on a six-point run throughout a minute-and-a-half on buckets by Stewart, Josh Winbush (Lake Charles, La.), and Barrett. The Barrett layup gave the Lions their first double-digit lead of the game at 69-58 with 1:27 to go. 

In the final 1:27, the Lions made no field goals but went 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. It proved crucial, as the Mustangs frantically charged back and outscored the Lions 16-5 in that span to force overtime. Tightly contested were a trio of Mustang three-pointers, and two were long but banked into the basket. Stewart missed a late three-point attempt, and the game headed to the extra period. 

The Mustangs made the first free throw of the overtime period, but the visitors’ hot shooting in the late stages of regulation did not translate into the extra time, as the Mustangs went three-and-a-half minutes without making a field goal. Two layups by Stewart had the Lions ahead 78-75, and a Grandstaff three-point play made it a four-point game at 81-77. MSU cut the lead to one point, but a pair of Barrett free throws put the edge back at three, and strong Lion defense did not allow the Mustangs a quality shot late. The Lions went 5-for-5 from the free-throw stripe in the overtime, while MSU was 1-of-3.

Wright career output pushes No. 8 Lions 107-70 over Midwestern State.

COMMERCE—The No. 8 Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team ran away with a 107-70 win over Midwestern State on Saturday afternoon. After a close first quarter, the Lions pulled away with hot shooting to pick up their 13th consecutive win. 

The win brings the Lions to 13-0 on the season and 7-0 in the Lone Star Conference. The loss drops MSU to 5-5 and 2-3 in conference play. 

The Lions return to action on Thursday as they hit the road to travel to face Texas A&M International. The game will be at 5:30 pm at the TAMIU Kinesiology and Convocation Building in Laredo. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Chania Wright (DeSoto) led the way with a career-high 33 points, breaking her career-high that she set in the previous game. She went 12-of-17 from the field, including five threes. She had 19 points in the second quarter.

– Alexis Bryant (Pflugerville) recorded her second consecutive double-double, recording 14 points to go along with ten rebounds. She also had four blocks and a pair of steals on the defensive end.

– The Lions lived in the paint, scoring 52 points inside the lane. Many came on MSU turnovers, as the Lions capitalized for 30 points off of 25 turnovers. They also had 43 active breakpoints. 

HEAD COACH JASON BURTON AFTER THE GAME

– On the play of Chania Wright: “That’s the most efficient 33 points I’ve seen in a long time. She scored 33 points in 22 minutes. She made it from three. She made it from midrange. She played a complete game. She is tough to guard. And she opened it up for other people as well.”

– On the offensive production: “The ball fell in the bucket today. Chania was great today. I thought Mykiel Burleson had a great game. Alexis Bryant had another great game with another double-double. And Dyani Robinson had a great game off the bench. It was a complete team game.”

On the second-quarter run: “That quarter sparked us. I told the team at halftime that that quarter was the complete quarter we’ve had since the St. Mary’s first quarter. We carried that into the second half.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions took the first five points of the game and did not look back, as they established a lead right from the tip. MSU went on a run to tie the game with three minutes remaining in the period. MSU then took their first and only lead of the contest, leading by four. The Lions went on a late run, taking a 20-17 lead into the second quarter. 

The Lion offense exploded in the second quarter, as the Lions outscored the Mustangs by 23 during the period. Wright caught fire in the quarter, scoring six points in a row early. After both teams went through a short lull, the Lions again could not be stopped. Over the final three minutes, the team outscored MSU 18-2. Wright hit a pair of threes and also had a pair of jumpers during the run. The Lions went into halftime leading 55-29. 

Wright led the team with 25 points in the first half, already tying her career-high, with 19 points coming in the second quarter. As a team, the Lions shot 59 percent in the second quarter, while holding the Mustangs to a 23 percent clip. The Lions also capitalized on Mustang miscues, scoring 23 points off of giveaways in the first half. 

The Lions started the second half on a 10-0 run, pushing their lead to 34 points with seven minutes remaining in the quarter. The Lions pushed their lead to 36 in the quarter, as both starters and Lion’s reserves did not miss a beat on either end of the floor. The Lions also converted on their free throw attempts, leading 81-46 going into the final period. 

The fourth quarter was the same for the Lions, as the team was efficient from the floor and the foul line. The Lions closed out the game strong, preserving their hard-fought lead.