By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 31, 2016) — Tarleton State threw a New Year’s Eve party at Wisdom Gym Saturday, and a good time was had by all.
Except for the Tigers from Ouachita Baptist.
Romond Jenkins recorded his fourth straight double-double and his eighth of the season, Ridell Camidge topped 20 points for the third time of the year and Chantz Chambers and Kealon Clayborne also reached double-digits as the No. 11 Texans (12-1) won their ninth straight with a 87-68 thumping of Ouachita Baptist (4-4) at Wisdom Gym Saturday.
Tarleton looked like a team coming off a 12-day layoff for about 16 minutes, but once the Texans found their footing OBU had no answer.
Tarleton scored 13 straight points to lead 37-30 before taking a 37-33 edge into intermission. OBU led 30-24 until a Camidge 3-pointer began the run. Jenkins hit two foul shots followed by a dunk, Chambers knocked down a layup, Riddick hit a 3 and Curtiss Anderson made a free throw to make it 37-30 with 1:39 to play in the half.
Two bigger and even more decisive runs were coming.
Leading just 41-37 early in the second half, Tarleton scored 18 of the next 20 points to bury the Tigers, stretching the advantage to 59-39. Riddick and Chambers hit 3-balls to begin the biggest surge of the night, Jenkins dunked one after an OBU bucket, then Camidge swished a 3 to make it 52-39. The run continued with Chambers making a free throw then dealing a transition pass to Anthony Davis for an easy dunk. Tip-ins by Anderson and Chambers opened up the 20 point lead.
It was 65-45 before the final Tarleton burst, this one for 15 straight points and a 35-point margin. Camidge scored eight straight on a layup and two 3-pointers to get it started, then Chambers hit a 3, freshly activated Brandon Willis made a layup and Clayborne laid one in to finish the run with just under six minutes remaining.
Tarleton emptied its bench, but OBU didn’t get the memo, keeping on a full court press and going on a 17-3 run that did nothing except make the final margin more respectful.
Camidge finished with 23 points while Chambers added 15 along with five assists and three steals.
“I think my team looks to me for energy plays, those plays that bring the team and the crowd to life, so I try to provide those,” said Chambers of his strong stat line. “I like any time I can get isolated one-on-one because I’m always confident I can either take my guy if he plays me tight or I can shoot it over him when he backs off.”
He did plenty of both on Saturday, while Clayborne, a redshirt freshman,used penetration to draw contact and get to the line where he was 5-8 on his way to 11 points and five boards. It was the first double-digit performance in the career of the guard from Cedar Hill.
Jenkins finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds while Clayborne netted 11. Tarleton sh
to 52 percent from the floor and held OBU to 40 percent including just 32 percent in the second half. The Texans dominated the backboards, out-rebounding OBU 42-28.
The Tigers were led by Lakee Westbrook with 15 points while Justin McCleary added 11.
Willis did not play with the Texans before the Christmas break. The true freshman from Baltimore scored two points and grabbed two boards in his first action, getting his feet wet before returning to conference play.
Chambers said Saturday’s game was key for all the Texans for just that purpose.
“We needed to get back to business, back in the flow of things, and I think that’s what we did today,” said Chambers. “This helps us get ready to get back into conference play.”
Which for him means his second trip as a Texan to Angelo State, where he began his career as a basketball player and a track and field star three years ago. He left to play junior college basketball and came to Tarleton last season, helping the Texans beat ASU for their second straight regional title and trip to the Division II Elite Eight.
“I love going to Angelo, I know that place and that atmosphere and there are folks there who remember me and come out to see me play,” Chambers said. “Having gone there before, it makes me want to beat them there even more.”