STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton started the game on a 19-2 run and never looked back as they led from start to finish and picked up a 76-59 road win at Texas A&M International on Thursday.
The Texans improve to 17-10 overall and 13-8 in the Lone Star Conference with one game to go in the regular season. The Texans have already clinched a spot in the LSC Tournament for a record 19th straight season and will host a play-in game on Tuesday in Wisdom Gym with the time and opponent yet to be determined.
The Texans scored the game’s first 11 points with Isaiah Range scoring six straight points to build the early momentum. It was the start of huge night for Range as the freshman scored a team-high 18 points – including 16 points in the first half to go with seven rebounds.
Josh Hawley had an easy two-hand slam to put the Texans up 13-2 to go back up by double digits and the lead never fell below 10 the rest of the half. Hawley had eight first-half points en route to 16 points and seven rebounds for the game.
Tarleton built a commanding first-half lead by forcing TAMIU (3-24) into 11 turnovers that translated into 18 points for the Texans compared to zero for the Dustdevils. The Texans shot a scorching 63 percent in the first half and held TAMIU to just 30 percent from the floor. Range put an exclamation point on the opening half with a deep three at the buzzer to put the Texans up 45-26 at the break – the largest lead of the game.
Range wasn’t the only Texan to have a big first half as Dexter Johnson went 2-2 from behind the arc and scored all nine of his points in the opening frame.
The second half had a different turn to it as the Dustdevils opened the half on a 17-4 run to cut the deficit to six at 49-43 with 12:20 left in the game. The lead would get down to three with 8:30 remaining, but it was as close as the Dustdevils would get. Tarleton pushed back with a 12-2 run to go back up by double digits, 69-55, and coast to the win. Zach Naylor had five points during the stretch as the senior finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
Clashon Gaffney narrowly had his fourth double-double of the season as he scored eight points with a game-high 11 rebounds. Devin Bethely was one of three Texans to score in double figures as he posted 11 points and a game-high six assists and three steals. Javontae Hopkins added five points off the bench.
Tarleton will travel to Kingsville to close out the regular season schedule to take on Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 4 p.m.