By Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers
Going up against the conference’s leading rebounder, Midwestern State’s 6-foot-9 center Eric Dawson, Eastern New Mexico knew it was in for a tough night in the post.
“The only gameplan was, we didn’t want him to have a career night against us,” ENMU coach Shawn Scanlan said. “And he didn’t.”
The Greyhounds held Dawson in check and were deadly from the free throw line to earn a conference win against Midwestern State, 79-72, on Saturday at Greyhound Arena.
Dawson, who averages 9.3 rebounds per game, tallied 21 points, six rebounds, three blocks by the final buzzer. However, he was held to six points, two boards, and no blocks in the second half.
“Late in the game he wasn’t the factor he could have been,” Scanlan said. “Most of what he did was in the first half.”
The Greyhounds (8-11, 2-2 LSC South) were lead by Tristan Largent, who scored a career-high 22 points, four days after scoring a then career-high 21 against Tarleton State.
ENMU junior Mikal Monette scored 14 and pulled down 14 boards despite the fact he gives three inches to Dawson.
“It was a big rebounding night for Mike,” Scanlan said. “He struggled in the first half. In the second half, he came out and rebounded like an animal.”
Monette said the Hounds decided to attack Dawson differently in the second half.
“We let him get off a little bit, but in the second half I think we figured out how to stop him,” the junior said. “I tried to play behind him a little more and waited for the help to come.”
LaKeith Grant scored a game-high 24 for the Mustangs (11-9, 0-5).
Down 62-60, the Hounds dominated down the stretch, ending a game on a 19-10 run.
“One of the good things tonight was we needed to be tough down the stretch and we were,” Scanlan said. “We competed, we pulled some tough rebounds, we hit some crucial free throws and all these things relate back to toughness.”
ENMU was 24-of-27 from the free throw line in the game, including 20-of-22 in the second half.
Both teams started the game hot, neither team missing a shot until 16:30 of the first half.