Lions get back winning form

Ryan Scott, Sports Editor

After enduring what many would say was their roughest spot of the season, the Texas A&M University – Commerce men’s basketball team got back on track with two straight wins last week.

The Lions started with a strong comeback win against the Texas A&M University – Kingsville Javalinas. After being down by nine at halftime, the Lions came out of the locker room ready to make a statement, roaring out with a 9-0 run to quickly tie the game. The Lions soon gained the lead and were able to pull away with an 83-74 win. The comeback was spurred on by 16 second-half points by Lone Star Conference leading scorer Darrell Williams, who finished with a game high 21 points. After shooting just 37 percent from the floor in the first half, the Lions shot 60 percent in the second half, and made four out of five 3-pointers.

The win helped propel the Lions toward their next meeting, against the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The Hardrockers are a relatively new team to NCAA Division II, and came in with a record of 8-16, and had played six games against LSC foes this season, winning only one of them.

The game quickly got out of hand for the visiting team, as strong play both offensively and defensively gave the Lions a healthy 46-29 lead at the half. The Lions shot better than 51 percent in the first half and held SD Mines to just 41 percent.

The second half went smoothly for the Lions as their large lead was never severely contested. The Lions had a season low eight turnovers in the game. Williams had a stellar performance, scoring 27 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, which marked his 15th double-double on the season. Williams entered the game fourth in the country in that category. The game also featured a career best night for senior guard Eddie Leal, who tallied a career high 16 points. Leal was also 4-5 from 3-point range.

The wins brought the Lions to an 18-6 record (6-4 LSC). The Lions also retain their fourth place spot in the conference. The Lions currently have just four games left in the regular season, and the road to the tournament will not come easily, as the final two games of the regular season will be against the current top-two teams in the LSC.

The Lions next home contest will be on Saturday, Feb. 21, against the West Texas A&M Buffaloes. The Buffaloes currently hold a 16-9 record and are situated right behind the Lions in the conference standings. The Lions narrowly defeated the Buffs in their previous meeting in Canyon by a score of 76-75.

The Buffaloes are led by the double threat scoring duo of Tez Dumars and David Chavlovich, who both lead their team in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game. WT is also a team who is not afraid to take the long shot, as they currently lead the conference in made 3-pointers with 233, 61 more than second place Tarleton State.

After the contest against WT, the Lions will have two games remaining until the Lone Star Conference Tournament, which begins on March 4.

The Texas A&M University – Commerce Lions men’s basketball team will face the West Texas A&M Buffaloes at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Field House.