KINGSVILLE, Texas — Center Stephen Story’s rebound basket with seven seconds left Saturday lifted Texas A&M-Kingsville past Eastern New Mexico University 85-84 in a Lone Star Conference South Division men’s game.
Senior guard-forward Remi Yusuf, the South preseason player of the year, went 11-of-12 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line for 31 points as the Javelinas (15-5, 2-3 South) barely survived a late ENMU rally for just their second win in the last six games.
ENMU men’s coach Shawn Scanlan said the Greyhounds did some good things to get back in the game, but said the team’s defense is leaving something to be desired.
“We did some things late to give ourselves a chance to win, but our defense right now is just so bad,” said Scanlan. “That’s what’s so costly to us.”
The Hounds (9-11, 3-3) have lost three in a row after a 3-0 division start, and Scanlan noted that the opponent’s star player has scored more than 30 points in each game.
“We’ve just got to et better defensively,” he said.
Kingsville scored the game’s first 11 points and led all the way until ENMU senior Stephen Wilson converted a steal into a layup with 11 seconds left for an 84-83 advantage.
Wendell Mulkey missed for the Javs, but Story was there to put it back. A last-second bid by the Greyhounds resulted in a turnover.
Senior forward Bobby Pandy added 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting while Mulkey went 4-of-5 and finished with 13 points. Kingsville shot better than 65 percent in each half, finishing 31-of-47 for 66 percent, but after going just 3-of-10 from the line in the opening stanza the Javs converted 16-of-20 foul shots in the final 20 minutes.
After a slow start, the Hounds shot 55 percent in the second half (17-of-31) to work their way back into the game.
Junior guard Justin Redman-Trotter scored 20 points for the Hounds. Senior guard Tristan Largent overcame a slow start to finish with 15 points, while junior guard Dwight Collins added 12 off the bench on 4-of-5 from 3-point distance.
Yusuf and Pandy each scored two baskets to get the Javs started. Kingsville extended the lead to 22-6 with eight minutes gone before the Hounds began a slow comeback.
ENMU got within six points twice, then ended the half with the final five points to pull within 40-33.
Yusuf’s layup with 14:55 left pushed the margin back into double figures at 50-39. The lead then stayed between eight and 13 until Collins’ 3-pointer made it 74-67 with 3:32 left, starting a 10-0 run that ended with Largent’s 3-pointer to tie the score with 2:41 remaining.
Yusuf’s basket and Mulkey’s two free throws put the Javs back in front by four. Redman-Trotter then hit two free throws each on consecutive trips to pull ENMU to 81-79 with 52 seconds to go.
After two free throws by Yusuf, Collins buried his final 3-pointer with 18 seconds to go, then Wilson stole the ball from Story and gave the Hounds a shortlived lead.