Texans advance to face Lubbock Christian at 7:30 p.m. Sunday
By BRAD KEITH
WICHITA FALLS (March 12, 2016) — Tarleton State held Colorado School of Mines to more than 20 points below its season scoring average and cruised to a 83-61 opening-round win at the South Central Region Men’s Basketball Championship Saturday at D.L. Ligon Coliseum.
Tarleton was in control from the onset, leading 23-7 by the midway point of the first half. The Texans were ahead by double figures the rest of the way, with Mines getting no closer than 41-30 following a pair of free throws with 15:05 remaining.
Tarleton improved to 10-3 in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Championship, all of its 13 appearances coming over the last 15 years. It’s their seventh straight regional appearance, and the Texans improved to 6-1 in tournament openers during that stretch.
Tarleton faces Lubbock Christian in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. LCU upset host and top seed Midwestern State, 79-73, in overtime. The other semifinal between Angelo State and Fort Lewis (Colo). tips off at 5 p.m. Sunday. The regional final is 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Leading Tarleton was EJ Reed with 19 points and Chantz Chambers with 14. It was the first start since December 5 and only the third of the season for Chambers, who was 4-7 from the 3-point arc.
Romond Jenkins spent the first half in foul trouble before dominating in the paint after intermission to finish with 14 points and eight rebounds. The Texans also picked up 12 points from Charles Hill off the bench.
Tarleton shot 50 percent and turned the ball over just seven times. The Texans are undefeated when giving the ball away less than 10 times this season. They out-rebounded Mines, 36-26, held the Orediggers to just 38 percent shooting and blocked eight shots to none.
The Tarleton defense was on point from the start, as Colorado Mines did not hit a field goal for more than eight minutes. By that time both point guard Michael Hardge and center Romond Jenkins were on the bench with two early fouls, but it didn’t matter with Charles Hill and Jakob Damstra providing strong minutes off the bench.
Damstra, the Lone Star Conference Academic Player of the Year. had three first half put backs, with the six points a season high for the senior from Dublin.
TheFlashToday.com photos by RUSSELL HUFFMAN