ENMU men, women open on road

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

Shawn Scanlan hopes to learn a few things about his Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball team in tonight’s season opener at Lubbock Christian.

LCU coach and Melrose native John Copeland is probably in the same boat.

The teams collide at the Chaparrals’ Rip Griffin Center in a 6 p.m. (MST) tipoff. The game will air on KSEL-FM 95.3.

ENMU’s women also open on the road tonight in a 7 p.m. game against Western New Mexico at Silver City.

While the Greyhounds are coming off a disappointing 9-18 season, the Chaps went 21-10 a year ago and handed ENMU a 96-65 loss in the season opener at Greyhound Arena.

The Chaps were drubbed in an exhibition game over the weekend at Texas-El Paso 72-44.

“They graduated heavy (from) last year,” Scanlan said. “We’re both going through transitions.”

He dismissed the loss at UTEP, though, noting that the Chaps played without senior point guard Jamaal Fears.

“We haven’t had a good track record with Lubbock Christian, and we haven’t done well over there,” Scanlan said. “We can’t be concerned about what they did the other night. We just have to have our minds on (tonight), because we’ve got our hands full.”

ENMU’s women are playing Western for the first time in several years. The teams have a return match scheduled next Tuesday at Greyhound Arena.

“We know a little bit about them, but not a whole lot,” Zias coach Dan Buzard said of the Mustangs, who were 5-21 last year and have promoted assistant coach Brett Hansen to the top position. “We’re playing on their floor, and we’re going to have to get after it.”

Buzard, who missed the 2004-05 campaign while recovering from a cancerous brain tumor, said he’s ready to get the season started.

“We’ve had some pretty good practices the last few days,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we’re going to do.”