ICE-COLD SHOOTING DOOMS LIONS IN 54-39 DEFEAT TO BUFFS ON SENIOR NIGHT
West Texas A&M 54, A&M-Commerce 39
Location: The Field House • Commerce, Texas
Records: A&M-Commerce (14-13, 7-10 LSC); West Texas A&M (16-9, 8-9 LSC)
Up Next: at Eastern New Mexico • Saturday, March 2nd • 5 p.m. CT
COMMERCE, Texas – It seemed as if A&M-Commerce couldn't buy a basket Wednesday night as the Lions shoot just 26.4 percent from the floor and hit just one three-pointer, falling to West Texas A&M 54-39 at the Field House.
The 39 points is the lowest output for the Lions since head coach Sam Walker took over the program in the 2000-01 season and the lowest point total since a 60-39 loss to Tarleton State in 1996-97.
The loss is the third-straight for the Lions at the worst possible time as A&M-Commerce falls to 14-13 on the year and 7-10 in Lone Star Conference play, sliding into eighth-place in the LSC standings. A&M-Commerce now trails the Buffs, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Eastern New Mexico by one game as the trio is locked into a three-way tie for sixth at 8-9.
A&M-Commerce hit just 14 of its 53 shots on the day, shooting an ice cold 26.4 percent from the floor. But the Lions were even more ineffective from three-point range, hitting just one of their 12 attempts (8.2 percent) as it marks the third-straight game A&M-Commerce has hit less than 17 percent of its three-point attempts.
Tyrie Wooten was the man of the night for the Lions, finishing with 13 points, four assists and four steals – all of which were team-highs. Andrew Davis added 10 points and a team-high six rebounds, but the rest of the team combined for just 16 points while shooting just 5-of-33 from the floor (15.2 percent).
West Texas A&M, who began the night tied with A&M-Commerce in the standings, shot just 35.7 percent from the floor, but were able to hit shots when they needed to. They used a surge in the first half to by eight at 13-5 at the 12:03 mark, matching that advantage three other times in the opening half.
Trailing 19-13 with four minutes to go, it looked as if A&M-Commerce was beginning to find its groove as the Lions outscored the Buffs 5-1 down the stretch, cutting the deficit to two at 20-18 at intermission.
The momentum carried over early into the second half as A&M-Commerce strung together a 6-0 run to open the second, taking its first lead of the game at 24-20 behind a jumper from Stefon Carson, a pair of free throws by Davis and a lay-up from Wooten.
But West Texas A&M's defense kicked it off a notch while its offense was able to return the favor as the Buffs used a 15-1 run spanning five minutes to break the game open at 35-25 midway through the half.
A&M-Commerce was able to pull to within six on two separate occasions, the last of which came at 39-33 with 7:01 remaining. But the Buffs used a 10-0 run to build its largest lead of the game at 49-33 and never looked back, handing the Lions the 54-39 loss on Senior Night.
Darnell Jackson led the way for West Texas A&M with 17 points and seven rebounds, including going 3-of-7 from beyond the three-point arc. Kennon Washington nearly notched a double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds while Donald Sims did accomplish the feat, posting 10 points with 13 rebounds.
The regular season finale is now on the horizon for A&M-Commerce as the Lions make the long trek west to Portales, N.M. to battle Eastern New Mexico on Saturday, March 2nd. A win over the Greyhounds would complete the sweep and assure A&M-Commerce no worse than a seventh-place finish in the LSC standings. A loss would give the Lions the eight seed heading into the postseason. Opening tip at Greyhound Arena is set for 5 p.m. CT with full coverage (audio, video, stats) available at LionAthletics.com.