By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (January 10, 2017) — Tarleton State couldn’t take care of the basketball, nor could the TexAnns slow down Texas A&M-Commerce once the Lions took it and sped the other way.
A&M-Commerce (10-4, 5-2) turned 20 Tarleton (5-8, 4-3) turnovers into 24 points and outscored the Lions, 24-6 in the fourth quarter to win, 89-74, in Wisdom Gym Tuesday evening. The Lions take over sole possession of third place in the Lone Star Conference with the win, dropping the TexAnns from a tie for third into fifth.
Tarleton has its fourth game in eight days when the TexAnns host Texas Woman’s in another LSC battle at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Bailey Wipff scored 22 and dealt five assists for Tarleton, which had four double-digit scorers. Mackenzie Hailey and Ikpeaku Iwobi both had double-doubles, Hailey her third straight with 11 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals, and Iwobi with 14 points and 11 boards. Tiara Tatum scored 12 but committed five turnovers.
Guard Khala Riley poured in 21 points and dealt eight assists for the Lions, while post Artaejah Gay scored 18., Brianna Wise 14 and Krystal Pickron 13. A&M-Commerce shot 51 percent and committed just seven turnovers on the road. They had as many blocked shots and steals as giveaways, enough to overcome Tarleton’s 44-30 rebounding advantage.
Tarleton shot 41 percent from the floor and both teams were impressive from the foul stripe, Tarleton going 14-16 and A&M-Commerce 9-11.
Tarleton led 45-40 at halftime, but TAMUC scored the first seven points of the third quarter. The TexAnns later went on a 9-0 run featuring one of Wipff’s two 3-pointers, and maintained a narrow margin until early in the fourth quarter.
It’s the fourth loss in five games for Tarleton, which split in back-to-back overtime games on the road last week, falling at ASU and beating Texas A&M-Kingsville.
The TexAnns have a much-needed week off following their Thursday date with Texas Woman’s. Tarleton hosts always-tough West Texas A&M next Thursday.