A&M-Commerce 96, Angelo State 90
Location: Stephens Arena · San Angelo, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (12-10, 5-7 LSC); Angelo State (5-17, 2-12 LSC)
Up Next: at Incarnate Word · Wednesday, Feb. 13 · 7:30 p.m.
SAN ANGELO, Texas – A&M-Commerce rediscovered its scoring touch as five Lions finished in double figures, leading A&M-Commerce to a crucial 96-90 victory over Angelo State at Stephens Arena. The win snaps a three-game losing skid for the Lions, who improve to 12-10 on the year and 5-7 in Lone Star Conference play.
The 96 points notched against the Rams ties A&M-Commerce's season-high in points as the Lions shot an impressive 52.6 percent from the floor, including hitting 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) from three-point range. The Lions were also an effective 25-of-32 (78.1 percent) from the free throw line, besting Angelo State in all three categories.
Preston Whitley paced the Lion offensive attack with 24 points off the bench, including hitting five of his seven three-point attempts while connecting on five of six from the free throw line. Stefon Carson added 18 for A&M-Commerce, hitting seven of 10 from the floor while going perfect from the line (3-of-3), with Devondrick Walker pitching in 17 points while going six of eight from the floor and three of five from three-point range.
Tyrie Wooten notched 14 points, including hitting a crucial six of his eight free throws down the stretch, as did Andrew Davis, who logged 11 points and went a perfect five-for-five from the free throw line. While being held to just three points, Jason Smith was efficient all night, logging eight rebounds and eight assists, both of which were team-highs. Abdoulaye N'doye also notched four blocks and three points in 15 minutes of action.
With both A&M-Commerce and Angelo State entering the day on the outside looking in when it came to the Lone Star Conference, this showdown was crucial to both the Lions and Rams and both teams came out firing from the get-go. The Lions built an early 17-12 lead, only to see the Rams turn around and build a seven-point advantage of their own at 34-27 with 5:43 remaining in the opening half.
That is when Whitley caught fire as over the next three minutes, he hit five-straight three pointers, triggering a 22-4 run for A&M-Commerce as the Lions built an 11-point lead at 49-38 with just over a minute remaining in the first half. Carson also found the scoring touch during that run, recording eight points as A&M-Commerce took a 49-42 lead into halftime.
The Lions would maintain a commanding advantage through the majority of the second half, leading by as many as 17 at 69-52 as A&M-Commerce maintained its double digit lead over the Rams. But in the waning minutes, Angelo State began to find its scoring touch as well as the Rams were able to trim the deficit to five at 82-77 with just over three minutes to play.
But with its postseason life on the line, A&M-Commerce came up big at the free throw line as over the final two minutes, the Lions hit 11 of their 13 free throw attempts, thwarting Angelo State's comeback attempt and preserving the 96-90 decision.
A&M-Commerce has now won three straight over the Rams and swept the season series against Angelo State, marking the first sweep for head coach Sam Walker's team since taking both contests against Eastern New Mexico last season.
Tarleton State also helped out the Lions Saturday night, defeating Abilene Christian 75-70 in overtime as A&M-Commerce now leapfrogs the Wildcats to pull ahead by percentage points into eighth place in the conference standings.
Six Rams finished in double figures on the night, led by a double-double for Reggie Sutton who recorded 18 points and 11 rebounds for Angelo State. Bryan Hammond finished with 14 points with Jovan Austin and Chris Talkington each contributing 12 for the Rams.
Another daunting road trip now faces A&M-Commerce as the Lions head south to San Antonio for perhaps the final meeting ever against Incarnate Word on Wednesday, February 13th. The Cardinals currently sit in second-place in the LSC standings at 8-4 and notched a convincing 86-75 win over A&M-Commerce back on January 2nd. Opening tip at the McDermott Center is set for 7:30 p.m. with full coverage (video, audio, stats) available at LionAthletics.com.