Freedom New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University’s men went on a 30-9 run over a 13-minute stretch spanning halftime and it was enough to propel the Greyhounds a 68-59 Lone Star Conference men’s victory over Abilene Christian on Saturday night at Greyhound Arena.
ENMU (9-3, 2-2 LSC) survived a 3-for-22 night from 3-point range, holding the Wildcats (5-5, 0-3) to 29 percent from the floor, including a 6-for-30 showing in the first half.
Senior guard Reggie Nelson led four Hounds in double figures with 18 points, including 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Senior forward Aaron Edwards went 6-for-9 and added 15 points off the bench, while junior guard Devone Davis and senior forward Curtis Wilkinson each added 12 points.
The Wildcats got 16 points and 10 rebounds from guard Zach Williams and 13 points each from guards Kendall Durant an Antonio Bell.
Both teams started slowly. The game was tied 4-4 after more than five minutes before the Hounds opened a 10-6 lead with 11 minutes left on a layup by Edwards.
ACU then held the Hounds scoreless for more than five minutes in building a 16-10 lead with six minutes remaining until halftime.
Then it was the Wildcats’ turn to struggle. The managed only one field goal — a jumper by Williams — the rest of the half.
Wilkinson’s dunk tied the score 18-18 with 1:47 remaining, and Davis added a layup and free throw on separate trips to push the Hounds in front 21-18 at halftime.
ENMU never relinquished the lead after that. Edward’s 3-point basket with 19:30 left made it 24-20 and started a 16-5 surge that ended when he hit another jumper with 13:46 left, making it 40-25.
Bell countered with a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer to cut the margin to 10, then added a 3-pointer at the 9:26 mark to make it 46-40.
Nelson countered with a 3-pointer two possessions later, then added two free throws for a 51-40 lead with 7:44 to go.
The Wildcats tried to mount runs down the stretch, getting within six points twice, the latter at 60-54 with 1:30 to go on two free throws by Mark Little. Davis, who finished 10-of-14 from the line, then hit five of six over a span of about 30 seconds, and Nelson added two more t o make it 67-57 with 33 seconds remaining.
ENMU shot 50 percent for the second half (12-of-24), and went 20-of-27 from the free throw line. Davis had five of the Hounds’ 11 turnovers.
ACU held a 48-39 rebounding advantage. Wilkinson, Davis and senior Max Carrier were each credited with two blocked shots for ENMU.
The Hounds will be in California for a 7:05 p.m. game on Monday against Division I Long Beach State. It’ll be their last outing until Jan. 4, when they resume LSC play at home against Tarleton State.