By BRAD KEITH
SAN ANGELO (January 7, 2014) — Angelo State used Wednesday’s Lone Star Conference opener to prove to everyone that the No. 19 Rams first top 20 ranking since 1984 was no fluke.
No. 3 Tarleton State simply got caught right in the crosshairs of a Ram team that is off to their best start in school history.
Demario Mayfield led four Rams in double figures with 22 points as ASU (13-1, 1-0) pulled off a 78-60 upset of the Tarleton (12-1, 0-1) that never really felt like an upset of all.
Mayfield scored seven straight points to key a 12-0 second half run that stretched the ASU lead to 54-36, and the Rams led by as many as 21 down the stretch. Marsell Holden scored 16, Chris Jones 12 and Raijon Kelly 10 for the Rams, who outscored Tarleton 26-14 in the paint and had just nine turnovers.
Tarleton gave away the ball16 times and shot just 34.5 percent from the field. The 60 points is a season low for the Texans, while 78 is the most they have allowed. ASU entered the game averaging 94.2 points and led the nation with an average scoring margin above 30.
Tarleton was paced by Michael Hardge with a career high 17 points. He made there of Tarleton’s eight shots from downtown, where the Texans were once 5-7 before making just three of their final 14 attempts.
TaShawn Mabry scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Tarleton. Mo Lee scored eight points off the bench two days after coaches feared he may have been lost for the season. The senior guard suffered a knee injury in practice Monday, but played 26 minutes despite reports of a torn meniscus.
It was the 800th game for 27th-year Tarleton head coach Lonn Reisman, who despite the loss sports a 570-230 record for a win percentage of .713.
“They played a very fast game, which we haven’t faced in years,” said Reisman. “We didn’t play the game as physically as they did or with near the intensity they did. We were a shell of ourselves tonight.
“But don’t take anything away from (ASU). They have a very good team, and they were inspired to win this game at home,” added Reisman, whose club suffered its worst loss since 2008 at St. Edwards. “We got beat in every facet of the game tonight. We shot the ball poorly, didn’t run our offense very well and were poor defensively.”
It’s just the fourth Tarleton loss since the start of last season. They are 40-4 during that stretch.
Tarleton looks to get back on track on Saturday when the Texans host Texas A&M-Kingsville. Tipoff is approximately 7 p.m. following a women’s contest, both at Wisdom Gym.