By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico
PORTALES — There were a few rarities in Saturday’s season finale at Greyhound Arena. Division wins for the Greyhounds are no longer one of them.
Reggie Nelson scored a game-high 21 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer to spark a 12-2 run in Saturday’s 70-56 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Junior Victor Reid added 12 in a balanced effort for the Greyhounds (10-16, 5-7), who were eliminated from postseason play earlier in the week but started a turnaround under first-year coach Andrew Helton.
“Our whole season is about preparing for league games,” Helton said. “We were picked by everybody to be seventh, and we’re going to be fifth or tied for fourth in our league. So we’re proud of that.”
The Hounds, who had gone without a Lone Star Conference South win in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, led by as many as 17 in picking up their fifth division win.
They led for the final 17 minutes, as Nelson’s trey broke a 32-32 deadlock. Up until that point, the teams had been tied three times with six lead changes.
“Second half, the first five minutes are important,” said Nelson. “We wanted to put our foot on their throats.”
Not that the hard-luck Javelinas (13-14, 3-9) helped themselves. During the run they missed layups and had a rare free-throw lane violation called for a Kingsville guard stepping on the 3-point line. And almost as if to sum up the afternoon, Kingsville coach Pete Peterson picked up his fourth technical foul in 13 seasons with 2:50 to play.
“That probably just shows the frustration we’ve had this season,” said Peterson, 199-161 at Kingsville. “When they hit those first couple of 3s, we seemed a little dead. We didn’t come out with the fire I thought we needed in the second half.”
Nelson said it was important to get the win for Eastern’s outgoing seniors —