By BRAD KEITH
(February 17, 2016) — It took just a few seconds for EJ Reed to get Tarleton State on the board with a straightaway 3-pointer at Greyhound Arena in Portales, New Mexico Wednesday night.
Just a few seconds for everyone to see an omen of what was to come.
An omen for Tarleton, perhaps.
More like deja vu for Eastern New Mexico.
Reed and Charles Hill each hit two early 3-pointers and Eastern New Mexico took almost five minutes to score at all as the Texans (18-7, 7-5) scored the first 11 points and cruised the whole way to a 83-53 win, their ninth straight over the Greyhounds (6-18, 2-10).
Tarleton now finds itself in an unusual spot – alone in fifth place but just one game out of first in the Lone Star Conference. Angelo State, Midwestern State, West Texas A&M and Cameron (Okla.) are all 8-4 in conference play with two games remaining. The Texans host WTAMU at 7 p.m. Saturday, following a 5 p.m. women’s contest. The Texans conclude their regular season a week later at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Tarleton, ranked seventh in the initial South Central Region rankings that were released earlier Wednesday, started 9-13 from the arc – including 4-4 by Reed – just four nights after Midwestern State began 8-10 from downtown at ENMU. Tarleton went on to go 14-26, making its most 3-pointers away from Wisdom Gym since going 14-35 at McMurry on February 25 of last year. It’s the most on the road in a LSC game in at least 12 seasons [stats published on TarletonSports.com go back to 2004-05].
Reed scored 14 of his 16 in the first half, which ended with Tarleton safely ahead, 44-17. Chantz Chambers had 12 off the bench in the first half, and Xavier Smith came in as a backup and had five blocked shots by intermission. He finished with six, one short of the school record set in 2003 by Vincent Bridgewater.
Tarleton stretched its lead to as large as 35 before cooling off in the second half. ENMU used a 13-2 run to pull within 24 before a 3-pointer by Mike Hardge got the Texan offense going again.
Romond Jenkins continues his improved production inside. He had two thunderous second-half dunks, first off a no-look pass from Hardge and later stuffing back an offensive rebound with the left hand, on his way to 12 points and nine boards. Hardge scored 12 while distributing six assists and Chambers finished with 12. In addition to his scoring, Reed also collected six boards and three assists.
Lawrence Domingo had 12 points and nine boards to lead the Greyhounds.