Five reach double figures for No. 7 Tarleton

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By BRAD KEITH

TheFlashToday.com

Sport: Stephenville (December 6, 2014) No one in Wisdom Gym was shocked Saturday night when Mo Lee scored six points, dealt an assist, swiped a steal and snagged a rebound during an 8-0 first-half run against St. Mary’s.

That’s because they’ve become used to seeing Lee do a little of everything for No. 7 Tarleton State.

Lee, who leads the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals this season, had 14 points to top five double-digit scorers for Tarleton (7-0), which build a 15-point lead then held off a late charge for a 75-64 win.

Mo Lee goes up for two of his team-high 14 points Saturday night. || Photo courtesy CHET MARTIN
Mo Lee goes up for two of his team-high 14 points Saturday night. || Photo courtesy CHET MARTIN

“Energy,” answered Lee when asked what is best about his versatile play. “That’s what I try to bring to the floor is a lot of energy and hustle. That’s what it takes to get to loose balls, force turnovers and make plays.”

Tarleton improved 10-0 against St. Mary’s (3-4) at home, and won its seventh straight against members of the Heartland Conference dating back to 2010. The Texans have won their first seven games for the second straight season. Never did they do that in head coach Lonn Reisman’s first 25 years on campus. It’s the 18th time the Texans have won at least seven straight under Reisman, the 12th since joining NCAA Division II in 1994.

St. Mary’s cut its big deficit all the way to three on three occasions late in the second half before the Texans used a parade to the free throw line to keep the Rattlers at arm’s length. Hardge hit 1-2, then Davene Carter drained a pair to make it 65-59.

Malcolm Hamilton converted a layup with 1:09 left, ended all doubt on a 3-pointer for a 71-60 advantage with 27 seconds to play. He was assisted on the triple by who else, Lee.

“He was open, and anytime I can find a teammate open with a good shot, that’s where I want to get the ball,” Lee said. “When he hit that, I knew we were going to be alright.”

When Lee wasn’t dropping dimes, Hardge was. The junior point guard scored 11 points and distributed seven assists. Tarleton’s other double-figure scorers were TaShawn Mabry and Carter with 12 each and Camion Clemons with 10. It was the second straight double-digit game off the bench for Clemons, who led the team with eight rebounds.

The Texans shot exactly 50 percent while allowing St. Mary’s to hit 51.2 percent, a rare high mark for opponents at Wisdom Gym.

St. Mary’s guard Marvin Whitt is diminutive in size only. He was 7-10 from the floor and scored 20 to lead everyone and give the Rattlers a shot.

But Tarleton survived, thanks largely to its free throw shooting. The Texans were 28-34 from the stripe, including 7-8 in the final two minutes. Lee was 4-4 in the final 15 seconds.

“Play all 40 minutes,” is what Lee said he would take from the game moving forward. “We had a big lead then we got kind of sloppy at the end. We have to stay focused and keep playing hard.”

Tarleton welcomes Paul Quinn College to Stephenville at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 15, then expects two tough challenges in the South Point Holliday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas December 18-19. The Texans face Western Washington then No. 14 Drury, winners of two of the last three Division II national titles.

“We know the teams we’ll see there are tough, we just have to stay focused and take them one at a time,” Lee said. “If we do that, then we can come back and still be undefeated.”

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