To say Eastern New Mexico University senior point guard Rodney Blackmon came out like a house afire on Saturday would probably be an understatement.
Blackmon personally got the Greyhounds off to a seven-point lead with 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the first five minutes, including three 3-pointers, and ENMU pulled away in the second half to rout Northern New Mexico University 90-66 at Greyhound Arena.
The game was part of the ENMU Tip-Off, which also featured three high school contests.
Blackmon scored 24 points, finishing 9-of-15 from the field and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, as the Hounds (4-3) trailed only briefly in the early stages and turned the game into a runaway with 67 percent shooting and 53 points in the second half.
With the shot clock running down on the game’s first possession, Blackmon hit a 3 from the left wing. After NNMC (7-6) took its only lead at 4-3, Blackmon answered with another 3-pointer and a two-pointer on consecutive trips before capping his run with a 3 and a two for a 15-8 margin at the first media timeout.
The NAIA Division II Eagles, who came in having won five games against NCAA Division II competition, stayed within striking range until the early stages of the second half. They pulled to 48-46 on a 3-pointer by guard Matthew Brito with 15:16 left, but senior guard Jordan Romero countered with one of his five 3-pointers on the next trip to start a 17-0 ENMU run over a 4 1/2-minute span.
The Hounds forced the Eagles into six turnovers during that stretch.
Romero was the Hounds’ only other double-figure scorer with 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench. ENMU shot 55 percent for the game (32-of-58) and went 15-of-28 from the 3-point line.
Ten players scored for ENMU, which got 36 points from its bench.
For the Eagles, A.J. Peralta went 7-of-9 from the floor and finished with 14 points, Christian Barraza had four 3-pointers and 14 points off the bench and Brito ended with 10 points.
The Hounds will play their fourth neutral-site game of the season next Saturday, facing Henderson State (Ark.) in a 3:30 p.m. (MST) contest at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla.