A&M-COMMERCE SUFFERS MAJOR SETBACK IN 76-65 LOSS TO A&M-KINGSVILLE
Texas A&M-Kingsville 76, A&M-Commerce 65
Location: The Field House • Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (7-15, 2-12 LSC); A&M-Kingsville (10-13, 5-9 LSC)
Up Next: vs. West Texas A&M • Wednesday, February 15 • 8 p.m. • The Field House
COMMERCE, Texas – A&M-Commerce struggled to find its groove all night as it fell behind early to Texas A&M-Kingsville and never recovered, dropping its third-straight game 76-65 at the Field House. The Lions dropped to 7-15 on the year and 2-12 in Lone Star Conference play.
Desmond King did all he could do for A&M-Commerce, recording his third double-double of the season by finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds, including four offensive boards. Brad Hambrick and Devondrick Walker each added 11 points and three rebounds for the Lions with Walker dishing out three assists.
Andrew Davis hauled down seven rebounds for A&M-Commerce with Esteban Arriola finishing with nine points and four rebounds with three assists. Mouhamadou N'doye posted six points, two rebounds and a block while LaBree Sledge led A&M-Commerce with six assists on the night.
A&M-Commerce grabbed the early 6-5 lead off a three from Hambrick, who hit 3-of-6 on the night, but that would be the last time in the game the Lions would find themselves on top. The Javelinas would reel off eight-straight, taking the lead at 13-6 with 14:27 remaining in the first half, taking a lead they would never relinquish.
A&M-Kingsville would extend its lead to double-digits later in the half, taking a 13-point advantage at 32-19 with 5:24 remaining in the opening stanza and held a 38-27 edge with time winding down. But a shot at the buzzer from Davis just inside the three-point arc cut the deficit to nine at 38-29 at the half.
A&M-Kingsville would regain momentum early in the second half, recording the first two baskets to reclaim the 13-point lead at 42-29. The Lions seemed to find their groove, using a 7-0 run to pull to within six at 42-36 with 15:30 left in the game.
A&M-Commerce continued to chip away at the Javelina advantage as a pair of baskets from N'doye and a long three from Hambrick got the Lions to within four at 51-47 midway through the second half.
But A&M-Kingsville once again found its groove and the Lions were unable to find an answer as the Javelinas outscored the Lions 13-4, pulling ahead by 13 with 6:03 remaining in the game.
Trailing by 10 at 5:04, the game took an even worse turn for A&M-Commerce as Sledge stole a pass and headed down court for a fast break layup. But he was fouled hard by A&M-Kingville's Robert Williams and immediately began holding his leg under the basket. The game was delayed for nearly 30 minutes as athletic trainers and medical personnel attended to the fallen Lion, eventually being carted off on a stretcher to a standing ovation from the crowd of 800 at the Field House.
The injury to Sledge seemed to take the remaining air of A&M-Commerce's sails as the Lions never seriously threatened down the stretch, falling to the Javelinas 76-65 at the Field House.
A&M-Commerce actually outshot A&M-Kingsville on the evening, hitting 44.2 percent (23-of-52) from the floor, including 5-of-19 from three-point range (26.3 percent), compared to 39.7 percent from the floor (23-of-58) and 5-of-20 from three (25.0 percent). But once again, it was the free throw line where the Javelinas shone, hitting 25-of-30 from the line (83.3 percent), compared to 70.0 percent (14-of-20) for the Lions.
Ashton Brown once again proved to be too much for A&M-Commerce, finishing with 25 points as the nation's leading free throw shooter hit all 13 of his attempts on the night. Ryan Layssard and Robert Williams each had 16 points for A&M-Kingsville as Williams posted a double-double with 13 rebounds, including eight offensive. Derryl Nash also added 10 points for the Javelinas in the victory.
The loss proved to be a costly one for A&M-Commerce, not just for probable loss of Sledge for the remainder of the season, but the Lions fell a full game back of both Angelo State and Abilene Christian in the Lone Star Conference standings. A&M-Commerce is fighting to finish in the top eight of the LSC standings and qualify for the 2012 Lone Star Conference Championships in Allen at the end of this month.
The Lions will have a much-needed break as it gets ready to head into the final four games of the season. A&M-Commerce will have nine days off before returning to the court at the Field House to face West Texas A&M on Wednesday, February 15. The Lions and Buffaloes will tip at approximately 8 p.m. following the conclusion of the women's game.