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Men's basketball season ends at LSC tournament

By Adam Troxtell
On March 10, 2010

The men's season included a trip to Bartlesville and the LSC tournament for the sixth consecutive year, but it ended in the first round with an 83-76 overtime loss to Tarleton State.

"We put ourselves in situations to win games against nationally ranked teams, and, for many reasons, were not able to get that part of the job done," Head Coach Sam Walker said. "But, 19-9 is a record we are very proud of."

After 10 games, the Lions sat with a 9-1 record, their only loss against LSC South Division opponent Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Walker said he is most impressed with the overall effort his team played with throughout the season.

"We wouldn't have won 19 games this year without guys playing in an unselfish manner that they did and the effort level as high as it was all year long and how consistent that unselfish level of play was," he said.

Senior Ronnie Morgan topped the statistics chart for A&M-Commerce, averaging 14 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Fellow seniors Cardell Hunter and Sammy Jackson also played major roles. Hunter led the team in assists, tallying 111 for the season, while Jackson averaged 8.2 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game. Walker said the role his seniors played went beyond the stats sheet.

"The play of our seniors, not just the numbers they put up or their ability to score or defend, but the way they played and the unselfish way they played, the team atmosphere they built gave this team an opportunity to maybe have more success than it would if it had equal talent but without those intangibles," Walker said.

The positive influence was not restricted to only seniors. Freshman Preston Whitley had an outstanding first season at A&M-Commerce, as he averaged 9.4 points per game and was the team leader in scoring for five games.

""Preston Whitley had a great freshman year, and I was very happy to see that," Walker said.

He said he was also happy with fellow freshman Andrew Davis' first year in the team. In fact, Walker already has in mind five players he feels will play major roles next season. Davis and Whitley will be in the post positions, while sophomore Brad Hambrick and juniors Brian Singleton and Tyris Dowell will provide experience as guards.

"All of them played considerable minutes in meaningful games at the end of the year," Walker said. "We have five returning players that have excelled academically, athletically and socially and that give us a very strong nucleus of sophomores, juniors, and seniors coming back."

This season for the men's team was one Walker said was good, but also one which his team just could not finish off.

"We just came up a little bit short and if it had been a 38 minute game against Tarleton, then we're probably in the national tournament," he said. "At no point in time did I feel like we were a nationally ranked team. We're a competitive group that plays very well together, and I thought the way we represented our school, our athletic program, our student body was on a very high level because of the way we went about winning."

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