PORTALES, NEW MEXICO – Devin Bethely hit a game-winning 3-pointer with less than a second left on the clock to give Tarleton a crucial 73-70 road win over Eastern New Mexico.
The Texans improve to 15-9 overall and 11-7 in the Lone Star Conference as they continue to chase a top-4 seed in the LSC standings that would guarantee the them a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
With Tarleton playing in New Mexico and being in mountain time, they knew the results of the rest of the conference games. All four teams ahead of the Texans in the 4-7 seeds lost (Angelo State, Lubbock Christian, DBU, and Texas A&M-Commerce) so the Texans had a golden opportunity to gain a spot in the standings. After being tied at halftime, head coach Chris Reisman let his team know the conference results and the Texans came out playing with a sense of urgency.
The Texans had a sluggish first half as did the Greyhounds with both teams shooting 35 percent and went to the locker room tied at 33.
In the second half, senior Josh Hawley put the Texans on his back as he scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the final frame. He also tied his season high with 15 rebounds. While Hawley shot 70 percent in the second half, the Texans connected on 50 percent of their shots. Tarleton used a 9-0 run to open the second half for its biggest lead of the game at 42-35. But just as the first half was, it was back and forth the rest of the half.
The Greyhounds used a 7-0 push of their own in the final 10 minutes to build their largest lead at 57-52. Hawley scored the next five points to even the game at 57. Hawley also added a 3-pointer to go up by four with 3:40 on the clock.
Devin Pullum, who hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer of his own at Greyhound Arena last season against the Texans, hit a 3 of his own with 47 seconds left to tie the game at 70 in the final minute. But it was Bethely who returned the favor to the Greyhounds in their own gym with a game winner in the final trip the Texans will make to Portales.
Randall Broddie also posted double figures for the Texans, scoring 13 points while the hero of the game, Bethely, scored nine points. Clashon Gaffney narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds to go with a game-high four blocks. Off the bench, Javontae Hopkins led the Texans with seven points.
Tarleton will return home for its final homestand of the season when they host St. Mary’s and No. 8 St. Edward’s on Feb. 20-22 in Wisdom Gym.