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Lions split Wednesday's games

By Adam Troxtell
On January 21, 2010

The Texas A&M University-Commerce men's and women's basketball teams were in action last night, taking on the East Central University Tigers.

It was a split night for the home teams, as the women lost 77-72, while the men finished on top of a 101-83 shootout.

The women played in the first game of the night, and it started out close. Senior Ashley Murphy's eight first half points led the way for the Lions before the break. It was East Central junior Casi Rawls, however, who took the spotlight early on. Her 13 points helped the Tigers to a six-point halftime lead, which they never relinquished.

A&M-Commerce did fight back, coming within three points of their opponents. Junior Genevieve Campbell was a major part of that comeback, as she was 3-6 from beyond the arc and 8-16 in shooting overall. She finished the game with a double-double, 22 points and 11 rebounds. Murphy, who appeared to be struggling with a slight injury, was limited in her contribution and did not score in the second half. Mattilyn McIntyre, recently named Lone Star Conference North Division Offensive Player of the Week, ended with 14 points and three rebounds.

Rawls and fellow East Central standout, senior Danielle Cox, both finished with 21 points, Cox having a particularly good second half. The 6' 0" Cox was difficult for the Lions defense to handle.

"She outran us pretty much the whole time," A&M-Commerce head coach Nicole Anderson said. "We gave her good position, and what we have to do is not allow her to get that position. So, defensively, our post position was bad. We stood behind and allowed her to catch rather than stand her up and not allow her position."

Overall, Anderson said it was her team's inability to capitalize on the instances they had the momentum which cost them dearly.

"We were kind of up and down in the first half, and kind of played a little flat at times," she said. "We would get it down to within three, get our chance to take over the game, and we would do something like give up an offensive rebound, or we'd turn it over, or miss a wide open something. I think we had great looks in the first half, great looks at the basket, we were just missing."

The men's game was predicted to be a shootout and did not disappoint. East Central have been averaging 90 points per game this season. Before the game began, A&M-Commerce head coach Sam Walker promised to keep the Tigers from scoring more than 89 points, and his team delivered on that promise.

The scoring in this game came quickly and from every direction, resulting in a 35-22 lead midway through the first half for A&M-Commerce. In the run-up to that score line, it was junior Dallas Hunter's three-point shot which gave the Lions a lead they did not give up for the rest of the game. Midway through the first half, the Lions went on a 14-2 run, and that lead to a halftime score of 51-43.

Junior Brian Singleton had the hot hand in three-point shooting for the Lions, going 4-6 from beyond the arc and finishing with 18 points, 13 of those coming in the first half. It was senior Ronnie Morgan who had the best second half for A&M-Commerce, adding 14 to his 10 first half points to finish the game with 24 points and 10 rebounds. The double-double was Morgan's fourth this season.

"Coach wanted us to do a lot of jump stops and take care of the ball, because he knew it was going to be a fast-paced game," Morgan said. "He said the more we could take care of the ball, the more chances we would have to score."

Seniors Cardell Hunter and Sammy Jackson also finished in double digits for the Lions, getting 18 and 11 points respectively. However, East Central also had a good game offensively, as Bobby McAdoo led the team with 18 points and Eric Allen scored 15. Walker said although he was happy with the win, he would have liked his team to be better on defense.

"If we're going to be a good team, then we've got to stick to what we do and do it to the best of our ability," he said. "Not do what the other team does and do that better than they do. I felt we did what East Central does better than they did. We got caught in that trap of quick shots, lack of ball reversals, sluggish defense, and kind of got into a slugfest with them. We need to be more focused on our approach to how we play for us to be good."

The Lions now go on the road for their next game on Sunday, Jan. 24, against Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The games start at 2 p.m., with the women tipping off first. A win for the men's team could result in them being placed in the NCAA regional rankings.

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