By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 9, 2017) – There aren’t many game situations Lonn Reisman has not experienced in his 30 years of coaching Tarleton State to prominence first in the Texas A
But Reisman himself says guard Preston Enloe achieved something Saturday that he believes has not happened a single time in his three decades leading the Texans – hit a game-winning shot as a freshman.
“I’ve never had one do it as a freshman that I can remember,” said Reisman following a right-wing 3 by Enloe with 2.9 seconds remaining for a 68-67 victory over Eastern New Mexico. “I’ve had some game winners, but none that I can remember have ever come from a freshman.”
Since they began recruiting Enloe, Lonn Reisman and associate head coach Chris Reisman have never spoke of the 6A district MVP from Lewisville Hebron (Carrollton) the same as they did typical incoming freshmen.
Tarleton followers are beginning to see why.
Enloe explained how his game-winning 3 was set up, him being the second option on the play, the first guy for point guard Deshawn Riddick to kick the ball out too if he was unable to generate a favorable look for himself.
“I saw Riddick trying to drive and create something for himself…He was struggling to keep a handle of the ball…(and) he had to pass (it to me) real quick,” Enloe said. “I knew time was running down and I had to get a shot up. As soon it left my fingers I knew it was good.”
Tarleton was only in the game because of 27 points from 6-7 center Jaraan Lands, a Division I transfer who went 8-11 inside and 11-17 at the line while collecting six rebounds.
Lands and Enlow delivered when needed with Josh Hawley and Corinthian Ramsey combining to shoot 4-19 from the floor including 1-8 from the arc. Eastern New Mexico, meanwhile, was 14-29 from 3.
That includes two late triples by Devin Pullum, the last for a 67-65 ENMU lead with 15 seconds remaining. An emotional Pullum – they younger brother of Midwestern State guard Devante Pullum and the Hounds thought they had finally ended their drought at Wisdom Gym, but instead Enlow extended Tarleton’s streak to 22 consecutive wins over ENMU in Stephenville, dating back to 1996.
“That’s a freshman, too, and he has other freshmen coming off the bench and contributing, so look out for them,” Reisman said. “That will be a team on the rise is what that tells me. It also tells me that it’s time for us to expect more from the freshmen we have playing.”
Like more of what Enloe provided over the last 11 minutes, not just the final seconds. Tarleton was down 51-41 following a Zach Parker 3 for ENMU with less than 11 minutes left. The first 3 by Enloe came 17 seconds later, and a Greyhound foul shot was the only pint before Enloe struck again right at the 9-minute mark, cutting it to 52-47.
He laid in the next two points before a steal and transition dunk by Nosa Ebomwonyi made it a 10-1 run and a one-point game. Ebomwonyi had two steals and 14 rebounds.
Pullum ended a near four-minute ENMU field goal drought with a deep 3 for a 55-51 lead. He scored 24, going 8-12 from the field including 6-9 from outside the arc.
Lands finally tied it at 57—57 and Tarleton pulled ahead 63-61 from the foul stripe, where the more aggressive Texans were 17-28 compared to ENMU going 3-6.
There were three more body blows before the TKO punch by Enloe – Pullum’s 3 making it 64-63, Lands’ post move and layup to push the Texans back ahead and Pullum with one final swoosh from about six feet behind the arc, left side, for the 67-65 margin before Tarleton’s final possession.
“Riddick was trying to attack get a look at a shot to tie the game, or even to draw a foul and give himself a chance with free throws,” said Reisman. “Preston was playing the best at his position so we left him out there and he executed exactly the way he was taught.”
All 11 points by Enloe came over the final 10:30, lifting Tarleton to its 43rd win in 50 all-time meetings with the Hounds, who were denied in the final seconds of a close game in Stephenville last year, too.
Stats were mostly even across the board, except for a glaring difference in bench scoring. The Greyhound starters struggled mightily out the gate with Tarleton jumping out to a 14-3 lead, so when their bench players like Pullum, Nick Brown, who was also 6-9 from 3 and scored 20, and Shawn Shelton, who added 10 points and six boards, got going, Sigler rode their hot hands.
They outscored the Texans 26-9 the rest of the first half, leading 29-23 at intermission.
Riddick scored 10 points while dealing four assists for the Texans. Hawley had seven points, eight boards and four blocks.