Smith scores a career-high, 34 in Texans rout of FIU

Gaddy notches first career double-double


MIAMI — Tarleton State gave the WAC its win of the CUSA x WAC Battle in dominating fashion, 82-65, over the  Florida International Panthers at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center on Thursday night.

The Texans (1-1) notched their first win of the season and handed the Panthers (0-2) their second straight loss in their home opener.

“It was a really nice win for, especially being in an opponent’s gym which makes it all the more special,” said coach Gillispie after the victory. “We’re a patchwork team with only seven scholarship players right now, but the guys that played gave it all they had. We’re excited about Saturday night at 7, when we get to open our home season at Wisdom Gym in front of our fantastic fans. It should be a fun and exciting night.”

Jakorie Smith stood out for the Texans setting a new career-high scoring total with 34 points in addition to leading the team with six steals and logged eight boards and a pair of assists. Smith shot a game-best six-for-10 from beyond the arc.

“I’m proud of them[his teammates], 34 points didn’t win the game, the team won the game,” said Smith after the game.

For the seventh straight game, a Texan scored in double-digits off the bench. This time, it was KiAndre Gaddy who logged his first double-double as a Texan with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Four Texans logged double-figure scoring totals rounded out by Devon Barnes (14) and Lue Williams (11). Williams led the team dishing out five assists as a part of the team’s 15.

The Texans came out hot in the first half never allowing the Panthers to take a lead. Tarleton State opened the game with a 7-2 run in the first 1:57 of play, with last game’s leading scorer Barnes, accounting for five of the seven points. Then, the Smith show commenced. Smith scored the next 15 Texan points to put the Texans in front, 22-9 and forcing an FIU timeout with 12:47 on the clock.

The Panthers showed that they didn’t want to give up in their home opener, cutting the gap to 24-17 in just a two-minute span. Back-to-back buckets by Smith and Gaddy gave the Texans a 28-17 lead at the midpoint of the first half. The pesky Panthers cut the Texans’ lead to 32-26 after a trio of layups and a three-pointer. Smith scored his 20th point of the half at the 5:43 mark escalating the lead to 36-27.

A 4-0 run by Gaddy on a pair of buckets upped the Texan advantage to 40-27. FIU clawed back in the final four minutes of the half to inch the Tarleton lead to 42-38, before Williams narrowly beat the buzzer on a hook shot with the buzzer sounding when the ball hit the floor.

FIU didn’t go down without a fight coming out of halftime. The Panthers swapped buckets with the Texans and cut their deficit to four, twice before the under-16 media timeout where the Texans held a seven-point advantage, 52-45.

Leading 60-50, Smith knocked down a pair of threes in a minute and a half span to break his career high and increase his total on the night to 28. But he wasn’t done just yet. He scored six straight Texan points increasing the lead to 74-55 after a pair of made free throws with 5:37 remaining.

The Texans were able to prevent any Panther attempt of a comeback and took their biggest lead of the night, a 21-point advantage after a Barnes’ layup with 2:19 remaining. Gaddy ended the night with a dunk in front of the Texan bench to give the squad their first win of the season, 82-65.

The Texans won the battle of the boards, 47-25. Tarleton State shot 31-of-60 from the floor, a 51.7 percent rate and eight-for-19 from deep, 42.1 percent.

Tarleton scored 46 of its 82 points in the paint and held FIU to 30. The Texans forced 21 Panther turnovers and scored 24 points in the following possession.

Tarleton grabbed the first win for the WAC of the WAC x CUSA battle, followed by Utah Valley’s 79-73 victory over Sam Houston State to total two wins in the battle for the WAC. Middle Tennessee earned the first CUSA Victory with a 67-62 victory at home against Abilene Christian.

Tarleton State will have a quick turnaround with its home opener in less than 48 hours on Saturday back in Stephenville against NAIA’s UNT Dallas at 7 p.m. in Wisdom Gym. After the game, players will be available for postgame autographs.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.