By BRAD KEITH
TheFlashToday.com NEWS & SPORTS – FREE & LOCAL
STEPHENVILLE (November 14, 2015) — It hasn’t taken long for Charles Hill to get involved in the offense for No. 2 Tarleton State.
In just his second game Saturday night, Hill, a senior guard who transferred from TCU, poured in 24 points and collected nine rebounds, helping Tarleton (2-0) erase a 13 point first half deficit in a 84-77 win over Adams Sate (0-2) at Wisdom Gym Saturday night.
Tarleton needed every bit of Hill’s performance, as well as the 16 points and a career best 11 rebounds by Texan Tipoff Classic MVP EJ Reed, to overcome the 14 3-pointers hit by Adams State.
The Grizzlies were 8-11 from the arc at one point in the first half, missed their next five, then got hot again and knocked down six of their final 11 to shoot 51.9 percent from deep. Shakir Smith, who made the all-tournament team, was 12-21 from the floor and 7-11 from 3 to score 35 points, the single-game high by anyone in the classic.
But Reed and company dominated on the backboards, 46-36, especially on the offensive end, 19-12., and turned that into a 26-6 advantage in second chance scoring. Seven of Reed’s boards were offensive and the bulk of his scoring came on put backs.
“Rebounding is critical to winning games, and its focused on in practice every day,” said Reed, who noted he knew he had to pick up his rebounding with big men Davene Carter and Dameon Clemons having completed their eligibility last season. “Coach tells us every day, you can’t win if you don’t rebound. It was big for us tonight.”
Point guards Michael Hardge and Deshawn Riddick each scored 10 for Tarleton and Chantz Chambers contributed nine. Joining Smith in double figures for Adams were Joe Bell Austin with 11 points and five assists and DJ Morgan with 10 points and six rebounds.
The Texans grinded their way slowly back into it after Adams State came out on fire and jumped ahead 17-4. Four straight free throws by Chambers and Hardge pulled Tarleton within two late in the half, and after an Adams field goal, Chambers hit a 3-pointer to send the teams to intermission with the Grizzlies leading 37-36.
Tarleton led for good after four straight points by Reed made it 47-44 with 11:56 remaining. The lead extended to nine on a tip in by Reed and fast break layup by Chambers with 8:45 left, and the Texans led by as much as 11 on multiple occasions down the stretch.
The other members of the all tournament team were Alex Welsh of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Shelton Boykin of Angelo State.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier right away for Tarleton. The Texans welcome Gulf South Conference member Delta State to Wisdom Gym Wednesday night. DSU knocked off reigning national champ Florida Southern on Saturday.