By Dave Wagner
PORTALES — Octavia Coleman flew in from Chicago to see her son play for the first time in two years. Garland Coleman responded with one of his best efforts of the season.
The Eastern New Mexico senior scored 15 points and added 10 rebounds Thursday as the Greyhounds rode a 15-2 second-half run to a 77-67 Lone Star Conference South Division win over Midwestern State at Greyhound Arena.
“I just wanted to play hard and play good for my mom,” said Coleman, who added four assists and a steal to his night’s work. “I had a good mind set for the game.”
ENMU, idle on Saturday, pushed the third-place Indians (14-8, 4-3) two games back in the loss column. Second-place Texas A&M-Kingsville (16-8, 7-2) is next up on Thursday as the Hounds continue a three-game homestand.
Octavia Coleman hadn’t seen her son play since his sophomore season.
“She’ll say it was worth the wait,” said Garland Coleman, a mainstay the last four years for the Greyhounds and coach Shawn Scanlan. “The guys said they were going to try to get a win for her.”
His mother’s stay was a short one. She flew into Lubbock on the day of the game, and returned to Illinois Friday morning.
With the snowfall from Wednesday night, Garland Coleman said the drive from Lubbock to Portales was a bit testy. “It was about three hours,” he said.
He had a near-perfect shooting night — 4-for-4 from the field, 7-for-8 from the free throw line.
“Garland Coleman had a good game for us,” Scanlan said. “Garland’s had some good games for us this year, but this was his best one lately.”
The Hounds (17-6, 7-1 South) hardly played a flawless game — they committed 23 turnovers, 10 more than MSU. But they shot 53 percent from the field, dominated the quick but smaller Indians on the boards 42-27 and converted 26-of-33 free throws.
Junior guard Kennis Green, scoreless in six minutes off the bench in the first half, went 5-for-5 and scored 16 points in 14 minutes of playing time after the break. Included were back-to-back treys that extended a four-point lead to 57-47 with eight minutes left.
“I was just trying to bring a spark off the bench,” Green said. “They couldn’t hold our cutting game. After we started getting some shots at the basket, it opened things up for me.”
David Hamilton’s 3-pointer as time expired gave the Hounds an eight-point lead at halftime, but MSU went on an 11-1 surge to go up by three with 12 minutes left.
“They took the first five minutes of the second half from us,” Green said, “but the next 10 minutes were ours.”
Even though Eastern has won six in a row and are in good position to defend their division title, Scanlan said much remains to be done.
“There are so many things we’ve got to work on,” he said. “Offensively, we’ve got some issues to solve. We were a ‘spurty’ team tonight, and we don’t really want to do that. But even though we weren’t totally at our best, we found a way to finish off against a good team.”