By Mark Molina
As the cliché goes; It isn’t how you start it’s how you finish, but for the Texas A&M Kingsville men’s basketball team a quick start was just that, a quick one.
After starting Wednesday night on a 7-0 run the Javelinas (6-5)(1-1) spent the second half coming back from a 14-point deficit against Lone Star Conference foe and the No. 16 team in the nation, the Tarleton State Texans (6-1)(2-0) only to see the comeback fall short in the end 72-70 at Kingsville Hampton Inn court.
The Javelinas were down two late with the final shot as Derryl Nash and Marcus Ford missed potential game-tying/winning shots only to witness Drew Onyebuchi grab three offensive boards and miss a last second put-back all on the final possession of the game.
“We had two defensive lapses there at the end of the first half but those turned out to be two pretty big ones that came back to bite us late,” head basketball coach Pete Peterson said “ we fought a little harder in the second half but we got to get rid of a couple of these lapses that we’re having,”
AMK would play close the final few minutes of the game but the Texans kept getting to the free-throw line to keep the Hogs only within arms reach, hitting 18-of-21 from the charity stripe throughout the night.
Robert “Rillo” Williams had a big game for the Hogs but was out for the final 2:34 of the game with five fouls lessening the AMK post present, forcing Onyebuchi to finish the game in the post.
In the first half the Hogs went from the 8:06 mark to the 3:52 mark without a field goal while Tarleton finished the half on a 41-20 run to put the Hogs in a 14-point hole.
The Tarleton State bench was key for them producing 35 points compared to only 13 for the Javelina reserves.
AMK did win the turnover battle (plus 3) and the rebounding battle (plus 5) but could not take care of the basketball committing as many turnovers as assist (10)
AMK who was usually a good stealing team averaging almost nine a game had no steals in the first half and had only three all game long.
The Javelinas shot 44 percent from the field while Ashton Brown led the team in scoring yet again dropping in 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting.
Marcus Ford finished with 11 points and Williams finished with 17 points, six boards and one steal.
The Texans shot 51 percent from the field and had three players in double figures.
“We just need to clean some of the little things up and we’ll be dangerous,” Peterson said, “We’re starting to come together, I know you thought we might be there already but we’re on our way,”
The Javelinas have a ten-day lay-off before hitting the road against the LSC’s second place team in Midwestern State on Saturday December 17 in Wichita Falls.