By Dave Wagner
Kennis Green made up for lost time.
The Eastern New Mexico University junior bounced back from what amounted to a benching two nights ago to score a season-best 21 points Saturday, helping the Greyhounds to a 90-75 Lone Star Conference South Division victory over Texas A&M-Commerce at Greyhound Arena.
The win moved the Hounds (18-7, 8-2 South) back into the division lead over Texas A&M-Kingsville (17-9, 8-3), which lost 79-76 at West Texas A&M.
The Javelinas had taken the lead on Thursday by beating ENMU 89-70, a game in which Green played only about nine seconds.
Against the Lions (13-13, 4-7), though, he lead a strong effort from the bench — the Hounds got 48 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from their reserves
“I was just focused for the game,” said Green, who went 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the second half. “I wanted to come out and contribute tonight.”
ENMU men’s coach Shawn Scanlan said the problem for Green on Thursday night was “an internal team matter,” and was a situation that had been building for a while.
“Unfortunately, it happened that night. Kennis was trying to prove tonight he could be a better player. The catch with him is (to do it with) consistency.”
Jamaal Hunnicutt added 15 points, Irshaun Pinckney scored 14 and reserve Edmound Elzy chipped in 12 as Eastern scored the game’s first four points and never relinquished the lead. Hunnicutt, Elzy and Garland Coleman each grabbed seven rebounds.
Guard Poncho Reedy led the Lions with 17 points, including four 3-pointers, but team scoring leader Clay Lewkowski was held to two points — nearly 12 1/2 under his average — and fouled out with seven minutes left.
Green said he was upset by Thursday’s loss.
“It had me fired up for this game,” he said. “We have to keep winning to be (South) champs.”
TAMC used 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range to stay close for most of the half, but the Hounds went on a 14-6 run to end the period and take a 48-37 lead into the intermission. Only once did the lead dip into single figures after that.
“This is a great basketball team, extremely well-coached,” Commerce assistant Roger Brown said of ENMU. “We caught them on a night when they were shooting well.
“A good team responds (to a disappointing loss). Coach Scanlan and his staff are to be commended for the job they’re doing.”
Brown acknowledged that the Hounds’ bench was a major factor.
“When coach Scanlan (brings in) another player, he gets the same production,” Brown said. “The bench was very consistent with the starters. They’re all athletic, they can shoot, and they’re good passers.”
The Hounds end the regular season with road games against Angelo State and Abilene Christian next week. They have to finish ahead of Kingsville, which swept the season series, to claim the division title.