ENMU teams need tougher defense

Dave Wagner

As they prepare for Lone Star Conference South Division games tonight against Texas A&M-Kingsville at Greyhound Arena, Eastern New Mexico University men’s coach Shawn Scanlan and women’s coach Dan Buzard have a similar concern.
Buzard wasn’t happy with the way the Zias played defense in their last outing, an 81-78 loss to Midwestern State on Saturday, and Scanlan was even more unhappy following the Greyhounds’ 93-81 setback Monday at West Texas A&M.
Despite Kingsville’s 4-15 record, including 0-6 in the South, Buzard said the Zias can expect to have their hands full in a battle to escape the division cellar.
“They get up and down (the court) pretty good,” he said of the Javs. “We’re going to have to do a good job of getting back in defensive transition.”
The Zias (8-12, 0-5) certainly played well enough on the offensive end against Midwestern, shooting 46 percent and hitting 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
The 78 points were the most they’ve scored since posting 87, 87 and 82 in their first three games of the season.
Right now, they’re just trying to find away to get a win after losing five in a row and 11 of their last 13.
“We’re going to have to play our best to beat anybody,” Buzard said.
Last year, the Zias routed Kingsville at home in the season finale.
“They’re really quick and athletic,” Buzard said. “They’ve played everybody pretty close (in the South). We’re just going to have to find a way to slow them down a little bit.”
The Hounds, on the other hand, are still in contention for one of the South’s four berths in the LSC postseason tournament with four of their next five games at home.
Kingsville (13-6, 3-1) has been tough on ENMU lately, sweeping the Hounds (8-12, 2-3) in each of the last two seasons.
“We’ve just got to straighten out our own problems right now,” Scanlan said. “Our three (South) losses are related to poor defense.”
Scanlan noted the Hounds are playing their fourth game in eight days, but added that they simply have to push on.
“It’s the part of the schedule where, if you hope to be around in postseason, these five games are crucial,” he said. “That said, we still have to take them one at a time.
“We have to be ready to show up and compete (tonight).”