By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (February 9, 2017) — Just like in many of its previous 499 wins, Tarleton State relied on its suffocating defense to fuel victory No. 500 in its NCAA era Thursday night.
The No. 11 Texans varied zone and man defenses and often mixed in a relentless full court press and Texas A&M-Kingsville had no answer with three shot clock violations and just 25 percent shooting in a 78-41 runaway win by the Texans at Wisdom Gym Thursday.
It’s the fifth straight win by Tarleton (21-3, 12-2), which remains alone atop the Lone Star Conference standings by 1.5 games over UT-Permian Basin. A&M-Kingsville (14-8, 7-6) had its six-game win streak snapped but stayed alone in fifth in the LSC.
The Texans host Angelo State at 4 p.m. Saturday following a 2 p.m. women’s contest. Both will be broadcast by WatchESPN.
Tarleton was changing up defenses every few possessions in the first half, and playing them all with head coach Lonn Reisman’s trademark intensity. The result was a nine-minute stretch where the Javelinas played just two points and Tarleton built an insurmountable lead.
It was 43-15 by halftime and the Texans stretched the margin to 30 early in the second half. A&M-Kingsville never got within 21, and once the Javs cut the margin to that number the Texans ran away again, stretching it to 38 twice in the final minutes.
It was quite an authoritative response by Tarleton after being upset, 76-71, in Kingsville on January 7. The Texans are 35-13 against the Javelinas under head coach Lonn Reisman and have beaten them eight straight times in Stephenville.
Ridell Camidge led the Texans with 20 points while Chantz Chambers scored 18 and Anthony Davis 16. The Texans excelled even without Josh Hawley who was in a walking boot and reportedly suffered a broken foot in practice. He’s expected to be out 4-6 weeks.
“I was really just starting trying to get inside and then take what the defense gives me from there and it worked tonight,” said Camidge. “Them beating us in Kingsville had a lot to do with the intensity you saw from us tonight, now we have to keep that going the rest of the season.”
Camidge praised Davis for stepping up with Hawley out. Davis made four 3-pointers in the first half, when he poured in 14.
“That’s my splash brother right there,” Camidge said of Davis, who also collected eight rebounds while playing a team-high 29 minutes.. “I hate that Josh is out, but I knew ‘AD’ would step up and he did.”
The Javelinas especially struggled at from the 3-point arc where they were just 2-22, 9.1 percent, after hitting 48 percent from deep in their upset of the Texans in Kingsville. Tarleton shot 45.1 percent from the field this time around, 44.4 percent from the arc and was a blistering 24-27, 88.9 percent, from the foul stripe.
Romond Jenkins missed a double-double because of late misses on a reverse layup and a dunk attempt. He had six points, 11 boards and three blocked shots in 25 minutes. Davis added eight boards while playing a team-high 29 minutes. He normally splits minutes with Hawley, but Nosa Ebomwonyi, a junior forward, spelled him with Hawley out.
Angelo State has struggled in LSC play but has suddenly turned it on, defeating Midwestern State at home last Saturday and Texas A&M-Commerce on the road Thursday evening. The Rams knocked off the Lions, 88-74, and bring that newfound momentum with them to Stephenville for the ESPN game.
A&M-Kingsville completes it weekend road trip at A&M-Commerce Saturday. That game also tips off at 4 p.m.