Barnes monster 33-point night leads Texans to first 20-win season in D1 era with victory over California Baptist

Tarleton extends winning streak to eight games


STEPHENVILLE — Tarleton State Men’s Basketball avenged a loss from earlier this season for the second time this week routing California Baptist, 83-65 on Saturday afternoon in Wisdom Gym.

For the first time in the D1 era, the Texans (20-7 overall, 13-3 WAC) have reached the 20-win mark and tying up the season series with the Lancers (14-13, 7-9). During the Texans’ game the WAC-leading GCU Lopes fell to ACU, 79-73, setting up the Texans for the chance to claim a share of the WAC title in the final four games of the season. Both the Lopes and Texans have three conference losses, and if it stays that way, Tarleton would earn its first share of the WAC title.

“After a slow first 15 minutes, the guys picked it up,” said acting head coach Joseph Jones postgame. “It’s what they’ve been doing all year. When it gets hard, they find another gear. They put in in low, and work hard to get the win.”

Devon Barnes was the man of the night, setting a new Texan record for most points in a WAC game. The sophomore transfer broke former Texan Montre Gipson’s record of 30 scored on Jan. 8, 2021 against GCU. Barnes sets a new career high just after tying his career high of 22 against the Lopes on Thursday night. The Hinesvile, Georgia, native, connected on 11-for-18 from the floor including four-of-seven from deep. Barnes co-led the team with five assists. Additionally, Barnes drew 10 of the Lancers 15 fouls showing his tenacity of going towards the basket.

“After leaving Riverside with a loss, we wanted to come back and play hard and physical, and that’s what we did tonight to grab the win,” Barnes said after the game. “And I just want to wish my dad a happy birthday!”

Adam Moussa notched his first double-double as a Texan and becoming the first Texan in the D1 era to notch a double-double with points and assists, scoring 11 and dishing off 10. Moussa also sets new season, WAC and D1 era highs with his 10 assists.

Barnes’ 33-point performance became the tenth-straight 20-plus scoring effort by the Texans.

Texans had a trio post three steals. Barnes, Moussa and Emmanuel Innocenti each forced three, adding to the team total of 11. KiAndre Gaddy led the team with a pair of blocks while adding eight points.

Tarleton started off slow but was able to overcome the early adversity. The Lancers started the game on a 6-0 run and held a 10-2 lead after the first four minutes of the game. The Lancers jumped to their largest lead of the game after a 6-0 run to take an 11-point lead, 19-8, at the under-12 timeout.

Acting head coach  Jones’ squad responded after the timeout. Gaddy scored the next four points of the game drawing the Texans within seven. The Purple and White used an 8-1 run to cut the deficit to two, 24-22, with just under six minutes remaining.

The Texans took their first lead of the game, 28-27 on a bucket by Barnes capping a 5-0 run. The Lancers responded and tied the game with 1:12 remaining at 31 apiece. Tarleton took a 35-32 lead into the break with a shot by Jakorie Smith that beat the halftime buzzer.

Both teams swapped baskets to begin the second half with two ties and three lead changes in the first seven minutes of the second 20-minute session. The Texans grabbed the lead for the final time on a Traivar Jackson dunk putting TSU ahead, 48-47.

Then, the Barnes show commenced. The experienced sophomore scored 17 points in the final 13 minutes including a trio of triples. With the Texans leading, 50-47, Barnes single-handedly distanced the Purple and White from the Lancers. Barnes scored on the next four straight possessions, erupting for an 11-0 run of his own fueled by a pair of back-to-back triples. Barnes made a three, stole the ball from the Lancers, and pulled up from deep to score six points in 20 seconds.

Moussa and Barnes teamed up with TSU leading 66-57, to score the next seven points with four from Barnes and three from Moussa with each adding a steal, putting the Texans up 16, 73-57, at the under-four timeout. The duo combined for 33 of the Texans’ 47 points in the second half.

Tarleton cruised in the final three minutes of the game, grabbing their largest lead of the night with 18 ticks remaining, 82-62. The Lancers tacked on three points in the final seconds to head back to Riverside with a pair of losses in Texas, dropping to the Texans, 82-65.

The Purple and White only committed five turnovers, the fewest by a WAC team in a conference game this season, surpassing the previous low of seven by multiple different teams. The five-mark is the lowest by the Texans this season, and second lowest in a WAC game and in the D1 era. The fewest turnovers in the D1 era and WAC game by the Texans was four against the Lancers on Jan. 21, 2023.

Tarleton State improved its record to 32-0 when shooting over 50 percent, shooting 56.1 from the floor on 32-of-57. The Texans shot 9-for-17 from deep, 54.5 percent improving their record to 7-0 when shooting over 40 percent from deep. The Lancers won the battle of the boards, 31-22. TSU only turned the ball over five times, winning the battle, 17-5.

Next week, the Texans hit the road for the last time in the regular season against a pair of Utah schools. Tarleton will seek its fifth season series sweep of the year next Thursday at Utah Tech, before heading to Southern Utah to avenge a loss earlier this season.

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