RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Tarleton men’s basketball nearly came away with its first Western Athletic Conference win on the road at California Baptist, but the Lancers closed on a 9-3 run to win 73-67 on Saturday at the CBU Event Center.
Freddy Hicks had a breakout game for the Texans with a career-high 20 points and 13 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes. It was the first career double-double for the freshman from Searcy, Arkansas, who also had two steals and two assists on the night.
The Texans (2-6, 0-4) only played six players, with Hicks, Konstantin Dotsenko, Shakur Daniel and Shamir Bogues playing all 40 minutes. It’s the third straight game that Daniel has played every minute.
“I thought our guys played great,” said head coach Billy Gillispie. “We only played six guys tonight. No matter what happens to this team, they’re very resilient. Jonathan Jackson, basically the leader out there, couldn’t play tonight. We don’t use anything as an excuse because they come ready to play every single night. I couldn’t be more proud of any team other than getting the win.”
Despite the limited depth, the Texans gave the Lancers all they could handle in the finale of the back-to-back WAC games. Tarleton’s defense forced the Lancers into 18 turnovers which led to 24 Texan points. For the second straight game, the Texans had single-digit turnovers with seven, which is a season-low.
After going back and forth to open the game, CBU went on a 10-0 run for a 10-point lead midway through the first half at 25-15. The Lancers had another hot-shooting first half where they went 9-18 on 3-pointers after going 12-24 on Friday night. The outside shooting led to a 39-32 halftime advantage for the Lancers.
The Texans came out aggressive in the second half, erasing a 7-point halftime deficit in just four minutes as Hicks tied the game at 41-41. Tarleton only led for 3:04 of the 40 minutes but the game featured nine ties and six lead changes. Dotsenko gave the Texans the lead twice with a pair of step-back jumpers as the sophomore from Russia finished with 13 points and three rebounds.
Hicks drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 56 with 5:13 remaining. On the ensuing possession, the Lancers made a second-chance bucket to take the lead and never trailed it again where they closed with nine of the next 12 points. The Lancers were 0-7 in the second half on 3-pointers but made their last two 3-point shots in the final minutes to extend the lead.
Montre Gipson scored all 15 of his points in the second half in 27 minutes of play while shooting 6-9 from the floor. Gipson was one of three Texans to score in double figures. Bogues had seven points, four rebounds and a game-high three steals in a starting role. Daniel and Javontae Hopkins each added six points for the Texans.