STEPHENVILLE (November 27, 2014) — EJ Reed scored 15 points and No. 8 Tarleton State (4-0) remained unbeaten with a 65-59 win over Pittsburg State (Kan.) in the Thanksgiving Classic at Wisdom Gym Friday night.
The Texans are right back on the court Saturday, tipping off at 7 p.m. against Northwest Nazarene in the final game of the classic.
The game was still very much in doubt in the final minute, but Tevan Jones and Davene Carter each knocked down a pair of free throws to secure the victory on a night when the Texans were both out-shot and out-rebounded.
Reed was 3-4 from the field and 9-10 from the stripe, where Tarleton was 28-37 (75.7 percent) six days after hitting just 12-23 (52.2 percent) in a rout of Dallas Christian. Michael Hardge was 9-12 at the line and had 12 points while Mo Lee went 4-6 from the field and scored 11 while matching the team in rebounds (6) and assists (4).
Devon Branch poured in 18 and Josiah Gustafson 17 for Pittsburg State. They combined to go 14-24 from the floor for the Gorillas, who shot 40.4 percent to Tarleton’s 39.0. Pitt State collected 35 rebounds to Tarleton’s 32.
If one glaring stat saved Tarleton, it was blocked shots. The Texans blocked seven shots while the much taller Gorillas blocked none. Carter had his first four blocks of the season for Tarleton.
A pair of free throws by Reed gave Tarleton a 38-37 advantage with 14:25 to play. Reed blocked a shot at the other end, then hit two more from the stripe for a three-point Tarleton edge. Feshman Nosa Ebomwonyi then buried a 3-pointer to make it seven straight points and a 43-37 lead the Texans would never relinquish.
Pitt State came within one, but Lee answered with a Tarleton triple for a 46-42 edge near the mid-way point of the final half.
It was still in doubt late, especially after a dunk by Branch cut it to 61-57 with 1:08 left, but the free throws by Jones and Carter sealed the deal. Carter gave Tarleton an eight-point lead with six seconds remaining before Gustafson tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer for Pitt State.