By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 27, 2014) — The Texans and head coach Lonn Reisman welcome his alma mater, Pittsburg State (Kan.), into Wisdom Gym as part of this weekend’s inaugural Tarleton State Thanksgiving Classic.
The No. 8 Texans (3-0) and Pitt State (1-3) square off at 7 p.m. Friday night in the second game of the classic. Tarleton concludes the event against Northwest Nazarene (Idaho) at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Texas A&M-Kingsville plays at 5 p.m. each day with Javelinas facing Northwest Nazarene Friday and Pitt State Saturday.
Tarleton has largely cruised through its opening three games, picking up two Division II and South Central Region wins. The Texans handily defeated New Mexico Highlands and Dallas Christian and beat Lubbock Christian by four in a game the Texans led by 14 in the closing minutes and were never in danger of losing.
Mo Lee leads the Texans in scoring, rebounding and assists at 13.3, 6.7 and 3.0 per game. TaShawn Mabry scores 11.7, while Michael Hardge and Davene Carter each average 11 for Tarleton. The Texans are outscoring opponents by 18 points per game.
Tarleton did suffer a loss in an exhibition, but it was by just eight points to a TCU team that is 5-0 thus far, beating five mid-majors by significant margins.
Pitt State has spent its Thanksgiving holiday in Texas. The Gorillas lost at West Texas A&M, 72-63, on Wednesday. The Gorillas are yet to play on the road, losing at to Augustana and Northern State in the For Pentagon Basketball Showcase in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on November 15 and 16. Pitt State won 76-56 t Arkansas Tech a week before visiting WTAMU.
Three Gorillas are scoring double figures – Devon Branch (16.5), Josiah Gustafson (16.3) and Lamine Dieng (12.0). They are shooting 49.6 percent, but average 13 turnovers per game and are being out-rebounded by 5.3 per outing.
Northwest Nazarene (1-4) split games against Hawaii-Hilo and Notre Dame de Namur University (Calif.) in Western Washington’s Chuck Randall Classic on Nov. 14-15. The Crusaders then suffered home defeats to Montana State-Northern and Westminster College (Utah) before dropping a three-point nail biter on the road to College of Idaho.
While the Crusaders lack depth on paper, each of their regular starters average double figures. Erik Kinney scores 15.4 points while collecting 7.4 rebounds. Mike Wright scores 11.8, Kevin Rima 11.4 and a team-leading 7.8 boards, Aburey Ball 11.3 and Bouna N’Diaye 11.0.
NNU shoots 51.3 percent including 41.4 from the arc, but has allowed their opponents to match that 3-point percentage and are committing 17.8 turnovers and allowing 78.2 points.
Like Tarleton, Texas A&M-Kingsville (2-2) is a member of the Lone Star Conference. Every game the Javelinas have played has been determined by six points or less. They are led by Jamar Goodwin at 18.5 points per game.Troy Jones scores 13.5 to go with 7.5 rebounds. Jordan Jahr is averaging 12.0 points and 7.3 boards.