By Dave Wagner
His team earned a split on a tough weekend road trip, but Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball coach Shawn Scanlan said the Greyhounds are going through some tough times.
ENMU opened Lone Star Conference South Division play on Thursday with a 55-52 win at Texas A&M-Commerce, then traveled south to face Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday and lost 77-69 after falling behind 13-0 in less than 3 1/2 minutes.
The Hounds (11-6, 1-1 South) return home for three games in five nights at Greyhound Arena, beginning with Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. contest against Abilene Christian (10-7, 1-1).
“We’re just struggling right now in so many ways,” said Scanlan, whose team has dropped three of its last four after an eight-game winning streak. “We’re just not playing very good basketball.
“Even when we win, we’re struggling. It’s something that’s not going to correct itself overnight.”
While the Hounds bounced back from the slow start at Kingsville to tie the score twice early in the second half, Scanlan said no one on his squad played that well against the Javelinas (12-6, 3-0).
“We never could get the lead; if we had done that, if might have changed the tone of the game,” he said, adding that the Hounds committed turnovers several times with a one-point deficit.
Scanlan said his team is facing zone defenses more and more, and hasn’t responded well. He noted that, excluding layups, the Hounds shot just 1-for-20 from inside the 3-point line against Kingsville.
While they won three South games at home last week, the Javs now face six of their last nine on the road — including the next four. Midwestern State posted wins at Abilene Christian and Angelo State last week, but the race remains wide open.
“This (division) is so close,” Scanlan said. “There’s not any real difference between any of us. You just have to get your team to show up on a given night.”
ENMU’s women (9-8, 3-1) are also looking at a big week with home games against Abilene Christian (10-6, 2-1) and unbeaten Angelo State (16-0, 2-0), ranked 11th last week in NCAA Division II.
“If we can split or beat both of them, we’d be kind of in control of our own destiny,” Coach Dan Buzard said after Saturday’s 67-47 victory at Kingsville.
Buzard said he thinks the Zias, who are above the .500 mark this late in the season for the first time in four years, are hitting their stride.
“We’re kind of getting to where we know each other pretty well,” he said.