Turnovers hurt Lions in 100-70 season-opening loss to No. 3 West Texas A&M.
CANYON – After 285 days away from outside competition, the Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team started the 2020-21 season Wednesday afternoon, falling to No. 3 West Texas A&M University by a 100-70 score.
The Lions fall to 0-1 to start the season with the loss. A&M-Commerce starts the Lone Star Conference season on Friday and Saturday at St. Edward’s, with the tipoff of both games scheduled for 4:00 pm.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– The Lions were led in scoring by newcomer Devin Bethely (Baton Rouge, La.), who scored 18 points and dished out a team-high four assists.
– JJ Romer Rosario (Hialeah Gardens, Fla.) scored 12 points and had five rebounds off the bench.
– Khaliq Abdul-Mateen (Houston – Cy Lakes) was the leading rebounder with seven boards.
– The Lions shot 41.5 percent (22-of-53) from the floor, 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from three-point range, and 59.4 percent (19-of-32) from the free-throw line
– WT forced 25 Lion turnovers and converted them into 35 points, while the Lions scored nine points off 17 Buffalo turnovers.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The home-standing Buffs got off to a hot start, scoring the first nine points of the game before Alex Peavy (Smithson Valley) hit a three-pointer to put the Lions on the board. A&M-Commerce’s deficit would stand near 10 points for the early stages of the first half until a 7-point Buff run would push the hosts’ lead to 26-10 with 10:18 to play.
Donald Ghostone (Grand Prairie) and Abdul-Mateen scored on consecutive possessions, and a Ghostone free throw at the 9:20 mark brought that deficit back down to 26-15. Unfortunately for A&M-Commerce, the Buffs went on a 13-3 run, pushing the lead to 39-18 with 7:12 left in half. The Lions played the Buffs evenly for the rest of the half, and Bethely’s three-pointer in the final minute made it a 52-32 halftime score.
The first three minutes of the second half saw a furious pace, with WT outscoring the Lions 13-5 to push the lead to 65-39. The home team stretched its advantage to as many as 42 points, but the Lions continued to battle.
Romer Rosario, Carius Key (Irving – MacArthur), and Dante Adams (Osceola, Ark) scored on three straight possessions, and Adams threw down a thunderous dunk. A three-pointer by Romer Rosario and Key’s dunk with just over a minute to play provided the final margin.