By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
Tarleton State was too big on the perimeter, and too fast in the backcourt. The result for the Hounds, two straight losses.
Danta Smith and Devon Hills each had 15 to lead a balanced effort, and the Texans started matters with a 7-0 burst and led by as many as 25 in a 73-48 win Wednesday night in a Lone Star Conference South game at Greyhound Arena.
Tarleton coach Lonn Reisman had little to complain about, as the Texans (18-5, 6-2 LSC South) snapped a two-game skid — both losses coming to division-leading Midwestern State.
“They played really well tonight,” Reisman said. “Not to take anything away from Eastern. I think they’re the most improved team in the league.”
The Greyhounds have dropped two straight since their 61-58 overtime win over West Texas A&M last week.
Wednesday wasn’t nearly as bad as Eastern’s 76-36 defeat at Tarleton three weeks ago, but the Texans were never challenged as they shot 55 percent from the field, including an 8-of-16 from beyond the arc, and led by double figures for the final 30 minutes after a Corin Henry trey made the score 19-7.
“They made shots,” Greyhound coach Andrew Helton said. “If they make shots, they’re going to be hard for anyone to beat.
Especially the rebuilding Greyhounds. If the outsized Hounds (8-14, 3-5) tried to man-to-man, the 6-foot-6 Wale Ogunoye or 6-foot-8 Jeremiah Wilson dominated inside. Zone the Texans, and Effran Bryant and Donta Smith made them pay from the arc.
“They’re good. I think we didn’t play very well,” Helton said. “We’ve got a team with heart, and they play with a lot of effort. But we didn’t play well.”
The Texan defenders, with Ogunye and Wilson as safety nets, played tight defense on the Hound perimeter players with little fear of getting beat by dribble penetration from guards Jimmie Marshall and Reggie Nelson.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt we’re big and physical and strong inside,” Reisman said. “When you can control the boards and limit your turnovers on the road (14), you have a good chance to win.”
Nelson scored 17 points to lead the Hounds — all in the second half, but had little help as no other Eastern player reached double figures. Forward Michael Brown had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Saturday will see the Greyhounds go on the road to face Midwestern, which edged Eastern 66-59 at Greyhound Arena last month.
Helton said there’s just not an easy night in the Lone Star Conference.
“It’s a good league,” Helton said. “We’ve got tough teams throughout. This team’s been making a lot of strides. We’re going to make a lot of strides, this year and next.”