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TAMUC – Sports

Lions see lead leave late in 88-76 loss to Lubbock Christian.

COMMERCE— The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team fell victim to the hot shooting late from visiting Lubbock Christian University as the Lions lost 88-76 in front of a raucous home crowd on Thursday night. 

A&M-Commerce is now 13-7 overall and 9-5 in the Lone Star Conference, while the Chaparrals are 12-6 overall and 9-4 in league play. 

The Lions return to the floor on Saturday as they host Angelo State at 4 p.m. in the second game of the Fill the Field House doubleheader presented by the Enrollment Management Division.  

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– The Lions shot 45.9 percent from the field (28-of-61), 45.2 percent from three-point range (14-of-31), and 60.0 percent from the free-throw line (6-of-10). LCU shot 50.8 percent (30-of-59) from the field.

– Wayne Stewart (Philadelphia, Pa.) was the Lions’ top scorer with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

– Deon Barrett (Lancaster) scored 15 points and passed out four assists. Darnell Wright (Chicago, Ill.) and Leo Lara (Santa Rosa) each scored 12 points.

– LSU’s Lloyd Daniels scored a career-high 34 points. The Chaps had a 40-25 rebounding edge. 

HEAD COACH JARET von ROSENBERG AFTER THE GAME

On the difference in the two halves of the game: “They really took it to us in the second half. You can’t give up 55 points in a half and expect to win a game. They scored 42 points in the paint; we showed no resistance. And then because we start scrambling, they were able to straight-line drive and got open threes. They did a really nice job, and you have to give them a lot of credit.” 

On the Chaps’ difference in interior play: “They got a lot of offensive rebounds, and you’re not going to get a lot of defensive rebounds if you don’t get stops. They literally got 50 percent of their misses. We’ve just got to watch the film, find a way to flip the script and get a win at home.” 

On rebounding from consecutive losses: “Our guys know what to do, we’ve just got to get refocused and ready to go again. You play good basketball teams, but we didn’t have it in the second half, and we’ve got to go back and look and see why. It’s not going to get any easier, and it never does.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

LCU hit a pair of early threes to take a 6-0 lead right off the bat and led 8-3 in the early parts of the first half. The Lions then responded with a 12-0 run, including a three and a dunk from Stewart. The teams battled back and forth for several minutes, as the Lions held a two-point lead at the midway mark of the half. 

The Lions pushed the lead back up to eight, and both teams traded buckets rest of the half. Stewart had another three and Wright scored a three-point play as the Lions slowly built their lead through the remaining minutes of the opening stanza. Lara hit a late three and the Lions went into halftime with a 43-33 lead. 

Stewart led the team with 10 points in the first half, while Lara had nine points on 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc. The Lions shot 60 percent from three in the first half, and also took care of the basketball, only allowing one turnover in the first half. The Lions were efficient in their ball movement, assisting on 12 of their 15 baskets in the first half. 

A layup by Wright and a Lara triple in the opening minute and a half of the second half put the Lions ahead by their largest margin of the game at 48-36. The Chaps chipped away at the lead thanks to a pair of missed Lion three-pointers, and the A&M-Commerce advantage was whittled to five at 53-48 with 15:43 to play. 

The Lions stayed up by two possessions for the next eight minutes before LCU canned back-to-back three-pointers, cutting the advantage to 70-69 with 6:23 to play. Barrett put the Lions back ahead by three points with a jumper in the paint, but the Chaps tied the game at 72-all on a Daniels trey at the 4:54 mark. 

The contest was tied with three minutes to play at 74-all, and the visiting Chaps would not miss another shot on the night, with Daniels making two layups and the team combining to make its final ten free throws. Conversely, the Lions went 1-of-6 from the floor with a turnover in that span and were unable to find their way to the free-throw line. A&M-Commerce did not take a free throw in the final 9:28 of the game.