By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (February 13, 2018) — Tarleton State used ball movement and a strong shooting performance from the arc to build a 23-piont lead early in the second half before very nearly allowing the margin to slip away altogether in a 77-73 win over Texas A&M-Commerce to take over third place in the Lone Star Conference Tuesday at Wisdom Gym.
The Texans were at their best during a 14-0 first-half run beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers from opposite corners by Sam Marshall. Deshawn Riddick followed suit then set up Josh Hawley for the fourth straight Texan triple.
The margin was 41-24 and grew to 23 when the second half was 3-1/2 minutes old, and was 23 early in the second half.
But the Lions had no quit in the them, battling to within two points when Claishon Gaffney stepped to the foul stripe and buried two key free throws to put the Texans ahead four with 1.2 seconds remaining.
Corinthian Ramsey led everyone with 16 points and led the Texans with six assists. Deshawn Riddick banged his knee on the court, watched as his mother was ejected arguing the lack of a call then returned to score 12 points, deal five assists and swipe four steals. Jaraan Lands and Jesse Hill chipped in 12 points and, respectively.
J. Williams-Powell led the Lions with 15 points on 6-9 shooting. Willie Rooks scored 14, Reggie Reid 12 with seven assists and Aaron Horne10 with six boards.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the young Tarleton team that picked up six points each from true freshmen Marshall and Preston Enloe as well as the victory-clinching by Gaffney.
Of course, the young Texans also had their scary moments, such Josh Hawley launching an ill-advised quick 3, and Riddick going down out of bounds with no foul call to give The Lions a late chance.
Tarleton avoided a third-straight loss to A&M-Commerce and stretched its all-time lead in the series to 32 wins and 20 defeats.