No. 5 Tarleton turns back No. 12 Drury in South Point finale

Advertisement

By BRAD KEITH

TheFlashToday.com

(December 19, 2014) — No longer can anyone say Tarleton State is untested.

Not after the No. 5 Texans went to the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas and defeated Western Washington and No. 12 Drury, winners of two of the last four NCAA Division II national championships.

TaShawn Mabry knocked down a five footer to break a 60-60 tie with 25 seconds left, and later hit the second of two free throws to ice the 64-60 win over Drury, which came just one day after the Texans edged Western Washington 72-65, both at South Point Arena.

“This was a huge win for our program, no question,” said associate head coach Chris Reisman following the win over Drury. “There might have been questions about our schedule before this, but I don’t see how there could be anymore after this tournament. Those were two very good teams we just played.”

Tarleton senior guard Mo Lee was named MVP of the event. He scored 14 points against Drury after netting 19 while collecting nine rebounds against WWU. Mabry led the way with 15 against Drury, while point guard Michael Hardge scored 13, swiped five steals and dealt three assists in 39 minutes.

Senior guard Mo Lee was named MVP of the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. || Photo courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton
Senior guard Mo Lee was named MVP of the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic in Las Vegas. || Photo courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton
Michael Hardge had 13 points, five steals and three assists while playing 39 of 40 minutes against Drury Friday.
Michael Hardge had 13 points, five steals and three assists while playing 39 of 40 minutes against Drury Friday.

Drury was led by 2014 Midwest Region Tournament MVP Kameron Bundy, a guard, with 16 points. He had a shot at a game-tying 3-pointer from the top of the key, but missed the mark and Mabry grabbed the board for Tarleton and was fouled with 2.1 seconds remaining. He missed the first free throw, then made the second after a Tarleton timeout.

Guard Drake Patterson scored 12 for Drury, while forward Cameron Williams was held to nine, almost 10 points below his average.

Tarleton improved to 38-3 over its last 41 games, defeating a Drury team that fell to 66-10 since 2012. The Texans were previously 0-3 all-time against the Panthers, who until Friday were the only team Tarleton had seen three or more times and never defeated under 27th year head coach Lonn Reisman. Tarleton improved to 9-8 against ranked opponents over the last four years.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The head coach agreed the tournament presented challenges similar to that of the NCAA Tournament.

“That’s why you come to events like this is to get the experience of playing two high-caliber teams on back-to-back days, because that’s exactly how it is when you get to the postseason,” Lonn Reisman said. “I am very pleased with how our team responded to their first road trip of the year, being in Las Vegas and taking on two very good opponents on back-to-back days. There are a lot of challenges there, and we overcame those, so I’m very proud of our team.

His Texans certainly played like a playoff team on Friday, outside of Drury’s quick 8-0 start. Tarleton quickly dusted that off with 10 straight points of its own, and stretched it to a 33-14 run to lead 33-22 at the half.

Drury, as expected, fought back.

After Tarleton grabbed its largest lead – 14 – on true freshman Nosa Ebomwonyi’s 3-point jumper to begin the second half scoring, the Panthers responded with an 11-1 run. Bundy hit a 3-pointer to bring them within six, and Lucciano Gamiz cut it to 37-33 with 13:27 still to play.

TaShawn Mabry hit the game-winning shot in the paint with 25 seconds left, two of his 15 points for Tarleton Friday.
TaShawn Mabry hit the game-winning shot in the paint with 25 seconds left, two of his 15 points for Tarleton Friday. || Photo courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton

A tip-in by EJ Reed and a 3-pointer by reserve point guard Deshawn Riddick made it 48-38 Texans with 7:54 to play, and a dunk by Carter restored the 10-point lead after a Drury layup by Adams. Riddick, a true freshman, provided 23 minutes off the bench.

Drury quickly cut it to 50-45 following a Bundy 3-pointer, but Lee tipped one in for Tarleton with 4:53 left.

Patterson hit a Panther triple to make it 53-48, and the Panthers finally got closer than five when Ben Fisher hit two free throws for a 59-56 margin with 1:31 remaining.

Hardge hit one of two Tarleton free throws before Drury completed its comeback with an Adams layup to tie the game at 60-60 with 53 seconds left.

Tarleton worked the ball inside to Mabry, who found the bottom of the net with what ultimately stood as the game winner.

Hardge’s final steal ended Drury’s ensuing possession, and Lee was fouled but hit just one of the free throws for a 63-60 edge. Bundy’s miss and Mabry’s rebound and free throw finished it off.

The Texans overcame 20 turnovers and and 10 missed free throws, out-rebounding the Panthers 28-20. Both teams shot 48.8 percent from the floor.

The Texans, shown celebrating their win over Drury Friday night, are 38-3 dating back to the start of last season. || Photo courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton
The Texans, shown celebrating their win over Drury Friday night, are 38-3 dating back to the start of last season. || Photo courtesy NATHAN BURAL/Tarleton

Tarleton is 10-0 for the second straight year after starting last season with 18 straight wins, its most as a four-year school. Since the start of last season, the Texans are a combined 4-3 against Lone Star Conference rivals Midwestern State and Texas A&M-Commerce, and are 34-0 against everyone else.

Tarleton is 4-0 in two trips to the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic, having defeated Western Washington and Central Washington last December.

Tarleton President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio was among the approximately 100 boosters and fans who traveled to Las Vegas. Following the game, school representatives said they will likely participate in the event again next year.

Tarleton’s next game is back in Stephenville on December 30. South Dakota Mines visits Wisdom Gym at 7 p.m.

Advertisement
Advertisement

 

Team Statistics
Game Stats DU TSU
FG% .488 .488
3FG% .500 .400
FT% .722 .643
RB 20 28
TO 18 20
STL 8 8

Game Stat Leaders

Field Goals:
LEE,MO

#22 LEE, Mo

  • Pts
    14
  • FGA
    5
  • FGM
    3
  • FG%
    .6
  • Min
    30
CARTER,DAVENE

#40 CARTER, Davene

  • Pts
    5
  • FGA
    5
  • FGM
    2
  • FG%
    .4
  • Min
    27

Game Stat Leaders

Three Pointers:
LEE,MO

#22 LEE, Mo

  • 3FG
    1
  • 3FGM
    1
  • 3FG%
    1
  • Min
    30

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply