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Lions edge 'Hawks in LSC North clash

N’eastern State soars past women’s team

By Justin Cheatham
On January 24, 2011

The A&M-Commerce men's basketball team narrowly escaped Saturday night's game against the Northeastern Oklahoma State RiverHawks with a 77-75 victory.

The game was neck-and-neck all the way through, with the score tied six times throughout the game. It all came down to the last seconds of the game, with the RiverHawks down by two and in their offensive end of the court. The visitors threw the ball inbounds for the final shot of the game, but their last-second shot only managed to hit the rim, sealing a Lions victory.

The Lions held the second ranked RiverHawks even at halftime, even with leading scorer junior Desmond King restricted by early fouls.

"Why risk the teams leading scorer in the first half?" Head Coach Sam Walker said. "I took him out after the first two fouls and kept him out long enough to just get cold. Then I put him back in."

A&M-Commerce went 18-21 at the free-throw line, earning an 85.7 percent accuracy for the entire game.

"I think if you look at the statistics alone, we probably top the league at free throws," Walker said. "But I think the most impressive statistic would be how many turnovers we achieve. That's something we work on day in and day out, because turnovers can lead to more opportunities to score on our part."

Junior Brad Hambrick led the team with 21 points, and sophomore Andrew Davis led the team defensively with 8 rebounds.

"Even though we play a second to last place team next, we are going to watch film on the game tonight and see where we can improve our game," said sophomore Preston Whitley, who also had a notable night with 13 points with three rebounds. "I'm going to rest tomorrow, and then it's back to the court to work."

Both players and coaches seemed to have the same thing on their minds after the close win; the next game.

"Tomorrow, the team is going to rest, but then its back to work," Walker said. "I believe that teams get better or worse through the course of a season, there is no staying the same. When we get back to work we will continue to work on getting the ball to the right people, not missing opportunities to score."

The Lions were down their only remaining senior on the roster because of an injury. The young team will play a 1-2 conference record Southwestern Oklahoma State at home on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m.

"We beat an undefeated overall team earlier in the year and then we come into the game tonight and beat an undefeated in conference team," alumnus Hoyle Julian said. "The Lions are starting to get a reputation as an upset team."

The Lions women's basketball team lost to the Northeastern State Oklahoma RiverHawks Saturday night 63-50.

"I think we did a lot better defensively than in our last game," Assistant Coach Adelina Gentry said. "Offensively, we were just a little stagnant and we were trying to make it work too much."

The Lions entered the game underdogs against a 13-2 team. Despite the disadvantage, the RiverHawks found themselves going into halftime with only a 10-point lead.

"It's not surprising, they go so hard at each other in practice day in and day out," Gentry said. "I mean scratches and bruises and they get out here more prepared for the game. We prove every day that we are just as good as number one or two. It's just a matter of being able to finish it out."

The coaches stressed how close they were at the half.

"A lot of helping them stay positive at halftime is telling them they did miss a lot of layups, but also we weren't being aggressive," Gentry said. "So, yeah we were only down 10, but we could have been down five. So it's reminding them, ‘Hey, you're more aggressive than that. You're not going at them like you can.' We just had to remind them, ‘Hey, wake up. Be yourselves and go out there and attack.' And they say, ‘Oh yeah, what are we doing?'"

Senior Mattilyn McIntyre led the team with 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half. She said after a quick break, the team will immediately get back to work in preparation for Wednesday's home game against Southwestern Oklahoma State at 6 p.m.

"Tomorrow, we actually have the day off, so I'm going to rest," McIntyre said. "We need to work on rebounding more and work on our free throws. We also need to work on setting up our jump shots, we didn't go into the lane enough tonight."


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