Lions split weekend on road trip


Photo Credit: Joseph Miller

Wayne Stewart cocks back for a wide open dunk against OCU.

Drew Ivery, Co-Editor/Sports Editor

By: Drew Every | Co-Editor/Sports Editor

The Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions men’s basketball team came back this weekend with one win over Western New Mexico University 77-73 and a loss to the University of Texas Permian-Basin 83-82.

The Lions took care of business in Silver City, N.M. in the first of a two game road trip. A&M-Commerce started out ahead early in the game, but their recovery from a double-digit deficit in the second half is what propelled them over the Mustangs to score the victory. Late game comebacks are what the Lions have been doing all season long.

Deon Barrett led the Lions with 22 points, which tied for a game-high in points with WNMU’s Elijah Holifield. Deonta Terrell and Wayne Stewart helped out in the scoring efforts as they tallied 15 points each and Stewart brought a career-high 15 rebounds.

“They had a really good game plan against us,” Head Coach Jaret Von Rosenberg said about WNMU’s game plan, per Lion Athletics. “I thought they did a good job of keeping us out of the paint and sending help on our drives. We had a lot of wide open shots tonight, and sometimes when they are so wide open, you are a little bit hesitant. There were a few times where we had some good looks, but they just didn’t go down. Give credit to them, they took care of the basketball and forced us into a lot of turnovers, which helped them offensively.”

Without the superstar firepower that Coach Rose’s teams have had in recent years, it’s taking a collective effort from the team and the emergence of Wayne Stewart to keep the Lions afloat this year. Though the Lions have three wins against ranked teams this season, with one of them being against conference opponent, St. Edwards.

A&M-Commerce has managed to be able to close out most of it’s close games this year when falling behind, but they have yet to be that team to start out in front and maintain those leads to not have to worry about clawing back into games. Part of this issue of falling behind stems from not getting Stewart going early enough in the game.

The Lions attempted to duplicate their performance on Thursday with a win in Odessa, but it did not turn out how they had hoped.

It was another one of those games where the Lions had to come from behind to try and capture a victory. The Lions were down as many as 10 in the second half and were unable to come out on top as Leo Lara’s last second shot missed it’s mark and the Lions were defeated.

Coach Rose and company gave up an early lead due to a 15-3 run by the Falcons after Terrell opened the game with a three-pointerStewart did everything and stuffed the stat sheet leading the Lions in points and rebounds as he finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. A&M-Commerce’s record is now 13-6 overall and 9-4 in the Lone Star Conference.

“It’s really frustrating because we did so many things we talk about very well,” Coach Rose said on suffering a close defeat, per Lion Athletics. “We had 21 assists and 10 turnovers and shot 50 percent in the second half. You have to give UTPB credit, they turned it over 12 times in the first half and only twice in the second half. That was really the difference in the game. They took care of the basketball and we took 15 more shots than them, but that’s because went to the foul line 20 times. A lot of guys did a lot of good things to give us a chance to win, we just didn’t pull out the victory.”

Next Matchup

The Lions stay at home for their next few games, beginning with two games this week and one next week. A&M-Commerce will face Lubbock Christian on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for Staff Appreciation Night/Blue Out and then take on Angelo State Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. for Fill The Field House/Basketball Alumni Day in the Field House. Both games can be heard on 88.9 KETR and viewed on the LSC Digital Network.