FORT SMITH, Ark. – Tarleton men’s basketball held off a second-half rally from Arkansas-Fort Smith and picked up its third straight win, topping the Lions 67-61 on Saturday in the Stubblefield Center.
The win moves the Texans back over .500 on the year at 8-7 overall and 4-5 in the Lone Star Conference after sweeping its weekend road trip. The Texans have now won four of their last five contests, their best stretch of the season so far.
Tarleton controlled the entire first half, leading by as much as 13 as they shot 46-percent from the floor. A 15-4 run gave the Texans a 27-14 advantage, the largest lead of the game for either team. Tarleton led 34-26 at the break.
A game after only posting 4 points and 1 rebound in a road win at Oklahoma Christian, Josh Hawley, the LSC Preseason Player of the Year, was back to his all-American self with a bounce-back game of 20 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. It’s Hawley’s LSC-leading 10th double-double of the season.
Hawley and the Texans had to withstand a career performance from UAFS’ Brian Haulms, who had 38 of the Lions’ 61 points. Haulms, a transfer from Ole Miss, faced off with Tarleton’s Ole Miss transfer Zach Naylor, who had 12 points and four rebounds and more importantly got the win.
In the second half, the Texans led 45-36 with 16 minutes left before the Lions made a run to take their first lead of the game at 52-51 with 8:30 to go. The Texans led for 34 of the 40 minutes and would quickly regain the lead after UAFS went up by four for the Lions’ largest lead. Hawley’s two-handed dunk moved the deficit to two and started a game-clinching 11-1 run in the final five minutes of the game. The Texans made seven of their 11 points during the run at the free-throw line down the stretch, including three free-throws from Randall Broddie in the final 15 seconds to put the Texans up by six in the closing seconds and seal the win.
Devin Bethely added 11 points and three assists while Isaiah Range posted eight points and a career-high nine rebounds, narrowly missing his first career double-double. Randall Broddie scored six points, giving the Texan starters 57 of the team’s 67 points. Off the bench Clashon Gaffney scored six points and Javontae Hopkins and Isaiah Boling each had two points to round out the scoring efforts.
Tarleton will return home for a two-game homestand starting with UT Permian Basin on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m.