By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 25, 2017) — Tarleton State shot a season-best 53.2 percent from the floor Saturday, when Josh Hawley scored 22 points and Corinthian Ramsey 21 to lead the Texans (3-2) to a 87-61 blowout victory over typically tough but currently struggling St. Mary’s (1-5).
The Texans mixed their deployment of 2-3 and 2-1-2 zone defenses in the half court along with the occasional zone or man blitz in the full court to limit the Rattlers to the fewest points and lowest field goal percentage of any Texan opponent this season.
St. Mary’s shot just 35.2 percent and made only 34.8 percent of their 3-point tries, and while Tarleton’s newfound defensive intensity certainly contributed to those low numbers, the Rattlers for the year are hitting just 39.6 and 28.6 percent, respectively. It’s no coincidence they are off to their worst record through six games since 1998, and if they don’t win their next one, it will be the worst seven-game start to a season in program history.
Tarleton, conversely, was 25-47 from the floor and 8-18 from 3, the latter actually a disappointing 44.4 percent final clip of after a blistering 6-9 from the arc to begin the game. In his post game Tarleton Sports Network interview, 30th-year head coach Lonn Reisman discussed the improvements producing these better numbers and cautions there will still be growing pains with the current team comprised mostly of new faces.
The Texans scored the initial eight points and were ahead 14-3 after consecutive 3-point shots by Hawley and Deshawn Riddick, who scored 15 on a near-perfect shooting performance. The senior point guard swiped six steals, dealt four assists, and when he did the shooting himself, missed only one 3-point try. He was 4-5 overall, 3-4 from 3 and made all of his four foul shots.
Ramsey has learned to be more selective, and was 6-12 from the floor and 2-5 from the arc. He has struggled the past two games from the foul line, missing four times in each.
Anthony Davis scored 12 points and grabbed four boards in just 15 minutes. The 2016-17 freshman of the year in the Lone Star Conference, appears to be slowly working his way back onto Reismans’ good side after his time on the court was slashed for what Reisman perceived to be a lack of effort on the glass during the F&M Bank Tipoff Classic that opened the season.
Freshman forward Clashon Gaffney had a productive 13 minutes but must learn to avoid being charged so many fouls. He picked up four of them, but no one in the home crowd complained about his seven points, five rebounds or two blocked shots during that brief amount of time. Gaffney is going to be one of those guys who makes a strong case for shots altered -in addition to those actually blocked – being added as an official stat.
Gaffney wasn’t the only youngster who saw time. Preston Enloe scored three points on a hard driving runner with a foul in the final minutes.