By BRAD KEITH
ALLEN (March 2, 2017) — Angelo State was tired of season-ending losses to Tarleton State, so on Thursday, in the opening round of the Lone Star Conference Championship, the Rams did something about it.
A halfcourt shot by second half and overtime hero Chantz Chambers rattled out at the buzzer for No. 2 seed Tarleton, and No. 7 ASU held on for a 85-82 overtime win at Allen Event Center, where the Texans had never lost a first-round matchup.
Quay King scored the final three points to break an 82-82 tie following a Chambers right corner 3 that tied the game after the Rams had used a 7-0 run to lead by five. Following King’s game-winning shot, Thomas Tshikaya stole the ball from Anthony Davis, who fouled out and sent King to the line. The senior Rams guard missed the first free throw but made the second to finish the scoring with 16.1 seconds remaining.
Tarleton couldn’t get a look at a tying 3 and had to settle for an off-balance attempt over two defenders by Ridell Camidge that wasn’t close. Tshikaya was fouled after corralling the rebound, but missed both free throws before Chambers streaked to halfcourt and very nearly forced a second overtime.
ASU avoided a third straight season-ending loss to Tarleton, having fell to the Texans in each of the last two South Central Region championship games. The Rams still need to win the remaining games in the LSC Championship to claim an automatic bid into this year’s regional. Their tournament semifinal is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 3 seed West Texas A&M or No. 6 Texas A&M-Kingsville.
The Texans still appear to have a solid regional resume, but with four straight losses to end the season, they will slip further in the regional rankings.
It’s the first four-game losing streak since January of 2013 for Tarleton, which in 29 years under Lonn Reisman had never previously lost its final three regular season games.
King scored 23 for the Rams, whose floor general, Prince Foster, finished two assists shy of a triple-double. Foster, who took over at point guard for the Rams after returning from injury in February, had 11 points, 12 boards and eight assists along with three steals in 27 minutes before fouling out at the end of regulation. Devonte’ Pratt scored 16, all in the first half, and Brandon Williams added 16 points, seven boards and three steals.
LSC Defensive Player of the Year Romond Jenkins had his 17th double-double of the season with 23 points and 14 boards, but he was scoreless with just one board in the overtime. LSC Freshman of the Year Anthony Davis earned his first collegiate double-double with 10 points and 13 boards but committed four turnovers.
Chambers scored 18 for Tarleton, including a right corner 3 that tied the game at 82-82 with a minute left in overtime. He also hit a pair of key top-of-the-key 3-pointers late in the second half, when the Texans outscored the Rams 22-10 after falling behind 63-51 with nine minutes remaining.
Sawyer Kipp hit a 3 to cut it to 63-56, and Chambers connected from deep to narrow the margin to 65-63 with 4:35 still to play. Tarleton tied it at 71-71 on a 3 by Nosa Ebomwonyi, and at 73-73 on a driving layup by Jenkins following a go-ahead slam by Tshikaya on a lob from, who else, Foster.
ASU moved the ball to the front court and called timeout with 13.3 seconds remaining following the final points by Jenkins. The Rams put the ball in the hands of Quay King whose 26 footer over the outstretched arms of Deshawn Riddick and Chambers rattled in and out, similar to how Chambers missed from about 12 feet further back at the end of overtime.
Tarleton played from behind most of the way thanks thanks to 20 turnovers. That and 20 ASU assists to Tarleton’s nine were enough to nullify a 57-42 rebounding advantage by the Texans.
Ebomwonyi scored 10, his first double-digit performance of hte season. He also had three steals, as did Jenkins to go with two blocks.
Tarleton shot just 37.9 percent, not that the Rams were much better at 25.8 percent. Both teams connected on eight 3-pointers in a battle featuring seven ties and five lead changes.
Quotes from head coach Lonn Reisman and players coming soon.