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TAMUC – Sports

Lions’ late charge is just short in 72-67 loss at UAFS.

FORT SMITH, Ark. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team erased a 14-point second-half deficit but could not hold on to a narrow lead late in a 72-67 loss to the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in the Stubblefield Center on Friday night. 

A&M-Commerce falls to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Lone Star Conference, while UAFS is now 2-3 overall and 2-3 in league play. The two teams meet again at 4:00 pm Sunday in the Field House in Commerce. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

The Lions made one more field goal and one more three-pointer than UAFS, but the home team connected on eight more free throws in the game.

– A&M-Commerce made 24-of-62 (38.7 percent) of its field goal attempts and only 34.3 percent (12-of-35) in the second half.

– A&M-Commerce had two double-double performances in the game, as Augustine Ene (Carrollton – Creekview) scored 13 points and had 11 rebounds and Demarcus Demonia (Fort Washington, Md.) had 12 points and ten rebounds, with each player dishing out two assists.

– This marked the first time A&M-Commerce had a pair of double-doubles in the same game since the 2019 LSC Championship game when Willie Rooks and Trey Conrod did so.

– Joining that duo in double figures was Devin Bethely (Baton Rouge, La.) with 13 points, five assists, and four steals, Carius Key (Irving – MacArthur) with 12 points, and Dante Adams (Osceola, Ark.) with 10 points.

– There were four ties and 14 lead changes in the contest. 

HEAD COACH JARET von ROSENBERG AFTER THE GAME:

On the fight, the Lions showed.

“It’s kind of a first for us all year. Losing’s not acceptable, but this is the first time in 2021 that we’ve looked anything like we’re trying to play. There’s obviously a lot of stuff to clean up, and we’ve got to be sharper, but the thing we were doing on both sides of the floor is what we are trying to do, and this is the first time it’s looked anything like that. We were short-handed, and some guys got different minutes, and it was good to see some guys have some success who hadn’t even played yet this year.” 

On the team’s overall performance

“When you look at the stat sheet, percentage-wise, we’re still not clicking and totally where we need to be and doing what we’re capable of doing, but this is what our stat sheet should look like. Five guys in double figures and one guy with seven points means the ball is moving around and being evenly distributed, which makes us hard to guard. We missed layups and didn’t make enough plays. You can’t shoot 37 percent and give up nearly 50 percent in the second half. But it was misses while we were doing what we’re trying to do as a team, and that’s the most encouraging part.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

Both teams came out of the gate strong, each making three of their first four shots on the way to an 8-all tie in just over three minutes of action. Key scored the Lions’ first five points. 

From there, the lid closed back on the hoops, as A&M-Commerce missed five straight field goals and UAFS was unsuccessful on seven consecutive attempts. A&M-Commerce took the lead at the 4:53 mark, following two Donald Ghostone (Grand Prairie) baskets and an Adams bucket to make it a 26-25 game. 

UAFS scored six straight points before Demonia hammered home a dunk to close out A&M-Commerce scoring, as they held TAMUC without a field goal in the final two minutes. UAFS led 33-30 at the intermission. 

At halftime, A&M-Commerce was shooting 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from the field and had an 18-16 rebounding advantage, but UAFS made one more field goal and two more three-pointers in the period. Demonia had nine points and seven rebounds at the break. 

UAFS jumped out to its largest lead of the game in the first seven-and-a-half minutes of the second half, as A&M-Commerce only notched triples from Key and Ghostone in that span. With just under 13 minutes to play, UAFS led 50-36. 

TAMUC snapped that skid with a Key layup, which sparked a 15-4 run over the next five minutes. Bethely’s three-pointer with just under eight minutes remaining cut the deficit to 54-51. 

After UAFS scored a three-point play, A&M-Commerce rallied again with another Bethely trey and four free throws. Adams’ layup at the 3:37 mark gave the blue and gold a 60-59 lead. 

Unfortunately for A&M-Commerce, the home side was re-energized at the same time the TAMUC shooting went cold. UAFS scored seven straight points to take a six-point lead. 

Ene drained a three-pointer to get the game to one possession with half a minute to go, and the Lions drew a charge with 17.0 seconds to play. Demonia flew at the rim, and they fouled him, but his dunk attempt did not convert. He made one free throw, and TAMUC had a final chance in the waning seconds, but the three-pointer was unsuccessful, and UAFS emerged with the win.

Lion women’s basketball vs. Cameron on Saturday postponed

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce has announced the postponement of the women’s basketball game scheduled for this Saturday vs. Cameron University due to concerns related to COVID-19 within the Cameron women’s basketball program.

The Lions and Aggies will look to re-schedule the game at a later date. A&M-Commerce’s next women’s basketball game will be at home on Tuesday, January 19, at 5:30 pm vs. UAFS.

Stay tuned to LionAthletics.com and our social media channels for updates on schedules throughout the season.

 

A&M-Commerce earns third place for Division II Award of Excellence for #MakeItImportant Initiative.

INDIANAPOLIS – The #MakeItImportant initiative organized by the student-athletes at Texas A&M University-Commerce has been named the third-place winner for the 2020 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence as announced during the NCAA Division II General Business Session of the NCAA Convention on Thursday. 

The A&M-Commerce SAAC will receive $1,000 for winning third place in the competition. All prize money goes for future SAAC initiatives or community engagement events.

“What a tremendous recognition for our institution and our athletics program,” said A&M-Commerce Director of Athletics Tim McMurray. “The fact this initiative was – and continues to be – student-athlete driven speaks to the quality and caliber of our young men and women who want to be change agents through this initiative.”

Division II honors its members each year for conducting events that promote student-athletes giving back and serving as leaders within their communities or on their campuses. A committee of athletics administrators determined this year’s finalists and the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee selected the winner.

ABOUT THE #MAKEITIMPORTANT INITIATIVE – More information at LionAthletics.com/MakeItImportant

In late May and early June of 2020, the murder of George Floyd shook the world. This murder highlighted the long-lasting issue of racism and unfair treatment of the Black community. 

That moved the people across the world to action in many forms, with protests against police brutality and racial injustice in nearly every community in America. 

Student-athletes at A&M-Commerce quickly decided that an action plan was needed and implemented that plan ever since with targeted and dedicated efforts. 

Led by the football team’s Leadership Council and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council on campus, the #MakeItImportant campaign highlights six key actions: positive change and influence on our campus. 

Achieve 100% Voter Registration on your team

The Lion Football team had reached 100% voter registration during the 2019 season, and the Make It Important campaign challenged all Lion teams to achieve that goal. 

“We developed the Make It Important initiative to fight back against all the injustices that have been rooted in our community and society. The way we can and should is through our voice and with our votes,” football student-athlete Nathan Jester said. 

Before the 2020 general election, the Lion Football, Volleyball, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Women’s Golf, Men’s Golf, and Soccer teams all reported 100% of their eligible voters as registered. These teams also organized transportation to voting stations in Hunt County for those registered locally to participate in early voting. 

“It was important that we followed through on our many conversations about the change that needs to happen in our country, and we did that by getting registered and using our right to vote for change,” said volleyball student-athlete Keziah Williams. 

Get involved in local and school elections, and get to know the candidates.

Through the Lion Leadership Academy, a candidate forum was held for Lion student-athletes in a virtual format in July. Texas state senator Royce West (D – Dallas) and Texas state representative Dan Flynn (R – Van) joined almost 200 Lion student-athletes. It was a session moderated by A&M-Commerce Distinguished Alum and former state senator Ted Lyon to share their platform and perspectives and answer questions about issues important to our student-athletes. 

“I thought that hearing from both sides of the political spectrum during the candidate forum was very helpful, especially as a first-time voter,” said men’s golf student-athlete Chance Mulligan. “With the way the two candidates explained things, you could understand how things work on a smaller level and then translate that into a decision that can change the nation. They didn’t just tell us to register to vote, but also that by doing our civic duty, we can truly bring about change and have our voices be heard.”

Continuous Dialogue

Having tough conversations is necessary for change. Individuals should sit down with another person different from them – either by their ethnicity, socio-economic background, belief system, etc. Please get to know each other as people, our story, and help us understand what we all go through in life. 

“I participated in a Black Lives Matter rally and protest, and it really changed my thoughts a lot and furthered them,” said softball student-athlete Kinsie Hebler. “I really feel there’s a lot of injustice in the world right now, and anything I can do to help people even if I’m not directly affected, it’s important to me that I do my part.” (VIDEO) 

Engage with your campus and local Police Department and have healthy conversations

Police should be our allies, and many are, but having intentional engagement with local law enforcement can mutually break barriers and allow for healthy relationships in the community. 

“It’s been tough to watch the injustice and hate to stir up our country. We decided that we were going to do our part and be a part of the solution through this initiative. It takes all of us, and I’ve been inspired to see our teams engaging with our University Police Department through ride-along, visits, and meetings,” said football student-athlete Alex Shillow, who is the national chair of the Division II SAAC. 

Respect should be reciprocated and call it out when it’s not.

All people deserve respect, regardless of their looks. Care must go both ways. We have to hold our friends and family accountable when they do not uphold that respect. 

In the spirit of respect on campus, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee hosted a Unity March in concert with various student organizations, with an abundance of student-athletes and teams participating. (VIDEO) 

“Our student-athletes developed a very important and exciting initiative that will continue to impact this campus and Lone Star Conference. These are the things we love to see our students do. They are absolutely outstanding and deserve to continue making this initiative an important discussion,” noted Dr. Lavelle Hendricks, Professor of Counseling and DEI Committee member. 

Be ALL Inclusive

We must include and support all people. What truly makes America great are our different cultures. We are a large country with a melting pot of people, and until everyone can feel safe, we are nowhere close to greatness.

Lion Track to get 2021 indoor season going at Pitt State

COMMERCE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce track and field teams will get the 2021 indoor season started this Saturday, traveling to Pittsburg, Kan., for the Crimson and Gold Invitational.

The Lions have been away from outside competition for nearly ten months since the CoVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships just before they started. Head coach George Pincock and his squads are ready to get back to action.

“It’s been a long time since leaving Alabama back in March when this pandemic started, which was tough. We just want the opportunity to compete. That’s what our group wants this year,” Pincock said.

Pincock’s group returns a very experienced core, supplemented by numerous freshmen and transfers. With the whole world going through similar circumstances without competition, some athletes will be competing for the first time since the spring of 2019. 

“We have some new athletes that are here and have this desire to have a great season that they didn’t get to have during their senior year of high school. We have some transfer student-athletes who feel the same way because they didn’t get to finish off and add that to the group that was here. Everyone wants to prove what we know we were capable of last year, and we’ve added to the foundation that already existed,” Pincock said.

Even with lofty expectations year over year, Pincock doesn’t pressure his team in the early portion of the season. 

“I’m looking at this weekend as a rust-buster. I think some of our student-athletes will go out there and have the best race of their life, but if they don’t, I just want to see people be competitive. Get in that environment and compete with the person who’s next to you.”

The meet begins at noon Saturday. Live video and results are available.