STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State Men’s Basketball notched its second season series sweep on the week with a dominating, victory against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday afternoon in Wisdom Gym.
With the win, the Texans (15-7 overall, 8-3 WAC) solidified sole possession of second place in the WAC after six weeks of play. The Lumberjacks (13-9, 6-5) fall into the middle of the pack in the league with a trio of teams that have five losses.
Lue Williams broke out in the second half exploding for 27, just a point shy of the Texans’ WAC record that Williams shares with Jakorie Smith earlier this season. Williams also tied his career-high with five steals, a team-high.
Devon Barnes joined Williams scoring 20 for the third team this season. Barnes was a perfect eight-for-eight from the charity stripe. The duo of Williams and Barnes became the second Texan pair to both score at least 20 in the same game this season. Smith was the third Texan to score in double digits posting 17 in addition to four steals and two assists. KiAndre Gaddy pulled down six boards and a game-high three blocks.
After the Jacks scored the first bucket of the game, the Texans broke out on a 5-0 run to regain the advantage. A triple by Devon Barnes on his first shot of the game followed by a Williams layup accounted for five consecutive Texan points.
After a Lumberjack bucket, Tarleton broke it open early exploding on an 13-0 run. Barnes sunk a corner three and drew the foul for the four-point play. Back-to-back buckets of a layup and a triple by Smith forced Kyle Keller to burn his first timeout of the game just five minutes in. The Texan defense was too hot for them to handle forcing eight turnovers in just 5:11 of play.
Tarleton led by as many as 14 in the first 20, taking a 22-8 lead with 10:38 remaining. The Jacks turned it around in the latter part of the second half, erupting on a 13-2 run in 3:22 of play to cut the gap to 24-21. A triple by Williams got Wisdom Gym on their feet with the six-point lead.
SFA took its second lead of the game at the 4:52 mark with a layup in the paint. Trailing, 32-27 with 2:13 remaining, TSU closed the half on a 6-0 run. Smith accounted for a pair of layups while Williams was aided by an Innocenti steal and found himself with a fast break layup to take the lead, 33-32.
The Texans started the second half hot with a Williams triple followed by a Gaddy block on the other end. Williams brought the ball up himself after the block and pulled up for his sixth point in 47 seconds.
Tarleton controlled the second half with Williams leading the offensive charge posting a game-high 14 in the second half alone. Williams connected on five of his six shots from the floor including a perfect four-for-four from deep.
The Jacks never led in the second half, but showed they wouldn’t go home easy in the final minutes. Trailing by 10 with a minute and a half to go, Kansas transfer Latrell Jossell drained a triple. The final 75 seconds resulted in the Texans shooting 10-for-10 at the line while the Jacks made a triple and a layup.
Gaddy put the exclamation mark on the end of the game with a wide open dunk, to seal the 75-64 Tarleton State victory.
The Texans improved their impressive streak to 30-0 when the squad shoots over 50 percent in the D1 era. The Purple and White shot 22-for-43 from the floor, 51.2 percent. Tarleton almost tied their WAC record for three pointers made in a single game but fell one short shooting 11-for-20, 55 percent. Tarleton won the turnover battle, 20-16 but fell in the battle of the boards, 36-23.
Tarleton will hit the road for three consecutive games starting with a pair of games at Utah Valley and Seattle U. The western road trip will start in Orem, Utah as the Texans will take on the Wolverines of Utah Valley on Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT. The Texans will close the trip with the WAC’s northernmost member, Seattle U on Saturday evening at 5 p.m.