By BRAD KEITH
(January 16, 2015) — Tarleton State (14-2, 2-2) went on the road and knocked down 29 of 32 free throws, connecting on 90.6 percent.
And as 27th year head coach Lonn Reisman said immediately following his club’s 77-74 Lone Star Conference win over Cameron (9-7, 1-3) in Lawton, Okla. Saturday, “We needed every last one of them to win the game.”
Malcolm Hamilton didn’t hit a single field goal, but he knocked down six big free throws down the stretch, helping the Texans hang on against a Cameron team that went 31-42. There were a combined 58 fouls and 79 free throw attempts.
Tarleton trailed 59-57 before scoring nine straight points. TaShawn Mabry gave the Texans the lead for good with a 3-pointer to touch off the rally. Mo Lee and EJ Reed combined to hit four straight free throws, then Damion Clemons made it 66-59 on a dunk with 3:43 remaining.
Tarleton led 73-67 before Mabry fouled out with 1:26 left. Deondre Ray hit a pair of free throws, then DJ Jackson stole the ball from Hamilton and laid it in to cut Cameron’s deficit to 73-71 with 1:07 left.
Reed missed a layup then committed his fifth foul with 45 seconds left. Don Matthew hit one of two free throws to make it a one-point game.
But Hamilton made four straight free throws around a pair by Cameron’s Desmond Henry, including two to restore the three-point margin and complete the scoring with 10 seconds left.
Ray missed a 3-pointer with three seconds showing, and Davene Carter secured his fifth rebound as time expired and Tarleton held on.
It’s the third straight year Cameron has hosted Tarleton at Aggie Gym and had a shot at the buzzer to determine the outcome. The Aggies defeated Tarleton 53-51 in 2013, and the Texans won 75-74 in overtime last season. Tarleton has won 21 of its last 24 meetings with Cameron.
Mabry scored 17 points and collected six rebounds to lead Tarleton. Lee and Nosa Ebomwonyi each had 10, with all of Ebomwonyi’s coming before intermission. Damion Clemons came off the bench to collect 12 points and a team-best seven boards. Hardge scored nine points and dealt four assists.
Cameron entered the game leading the LSC at 40.5 percent from 3-point range, but was just 1-13 from outside the arc on its home floor. Tarleton outscored the Aggies 24-3 from the arc, overcoming the opponent’s 36-18 advantage in the paint.
Henry was 11-13 from the stripe and led Cameron with 23 points. KeDorian Sullivan was 5-7 from the floor and scored 16.
Tarleton shot just 33.3 percent in the first half, and trailed 29-28 at the break. The Texans responded by hitting 50 percent in the second half, finishing at 40.8 percent. Cameron shot 43.8 percent, but Tarleton out-rebounded the Aggies 32-27.
TArleton welcomes West Texas A&M to Wisdom Gym in Stephenville on Wednesday. Tipoff is at approximately 8 p.m., following a women’s contest at 6.
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