By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 26, 2016) — For the second straight year, Tarleton enters the second day of its Thanksgiving Classic in bounce-back mode.
No. 7 Tarleton (3-1) hosts Emmanuel College (Ga.) (3-2) at 7 p.m. this evening to conclude the third annual classic. The game follows a 5 p.m. contest between Texas A&M-Commerce (5-0) and Colorado State-Pueblo (2-2).
The Texans suffered their first loss to CSU-Pueblo Friday evening, falling 79-78 on a free throw with 1.69 seconds remaining. The final free throw marked the only time in the second half that Tarleton trailed to the same team that upset the then No. 1 Texans in overtime a year prior.
Emmanuel College dropped the opening game of the classic, 85-74, to A&M-Commerce, which is undefeated. Emmanuel entered the tournament on the heels of a 72-64 victory over perennial power Mount Olive (NC), which Tarleton defeated in a national quarterfinal at the 2015 Elite Eight.
Emmanuel is led by sophomore Emerson McClung at 17.6 points per game, and the Lions are balanced behind him. Center Zach Lillie scores 11.6 points and collects 8.2 rebounds per game, Colton Collins scores 11.4, Zach Vess nets 11.2 and point guard Kendrick Colvin scores 9.8 while also dealing 3.6 assists.
Tarleton picked up a career-high 27 points from junior point guard Deshawn Riddick Friday evening. For the season, the balanced Texans are led by Ridell Camidge at 14.5 points per game, Riddick at 12.3, chants Chambers 11.5, Romond Jenkins 9.5, Anthony Davis 9.5 and Josh Hawley 8.0 off the bench.