STEPHENVILLE – Led by double-doubles from Josh Hawley and Clashon Gaffney, Tarleton men’s basketball was able to hold off Northwestern Oklahoma State for a 71-63 victory on Wednesday in Wisdom Gym.
For Gaffney, it was his first career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds – both career highs for the junior forward. He also added a season-high three blocks. Hawley has been on a tear as of late, posting his fifth straight (sixth overall) double-double with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Tarleton (4-3) and Northwestern Oklahoma State (1-5) were tied at 19-19 in the first nine minutes of play before the Texans went on a 9-0 run with a pair of buckets from Randall Broddie, a 3-pointer by Hawley and a mid-range jumper from Devin Bethely. Broddie added 10 points and tied a career high with five assists while Bethely posted nine points with four assists.
The nine-point lead was the largest of the first half as the Rangers kept things close with the Texans, getting to within one in the final minute. A pair of free throws by Gaffney sent the Texans to the locker room up 34-31.
In the second half, the Texans and Rangers exchanged double-digit scoring runs right out of the gate. After the Rangers tied the score at 34-34 on the first possession, the Texans scored the next 12 points to grab a 46-34 advantage. But it was short lived as the Rangers countered with a 10-0 push to cut the game back to two.
The Texans answered back with five straight layups for an 11-0 run to take its largest lead of the game at 57-44 with 10 minutes left. NWOSU was able to get the game back to within one over the next six minutes but that was as close at the Rangers would get. Hawley drilled a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions in the final two minutes and the Texans went 4-4 on free throws down the stretch to pull away from the Rangers to clinch the win.
The Texans had 12 points off the bench from three players: Isaiah Range (5), Javantae Hopkins (4) and Zach Naylor (3) to round of the scoring efforts.
Tarleton will be off for the next week and return to Lone Star Conference play for its next game at Angelo State on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in San Angelo.