ABILENE, Texas — Junior guard Reggie Nelson hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and two key free throws in the final minute Tuesday night and Eastern New Mexico University slipped past Abilene Christian 74-71 in a Lone Star Conference South Division men’s game.
The win assures ENMU (9-16, 4-7 South) a fifth-place finish in the division following consecutive 0-12 seasons. The Greyhounds, who host Texas A&M-Kingsville in their finale on Saturday, were eliminated from postseason consideration with a loss Saturday at Angelo State.
Senior guard Jimmie Marshall had 16 points and 10 assists for the Hounds, while junior forward Tyler Nelson added 16 points and eight rebounds.
ACU (8-18, 1-10) got only 27 points from its starters on 9-of-27 shooting, including 2-of-10 from 3-point range. The Wildcats were led by reserves Dustin Heiman and Marcus Washington with 13 points apiece.
The Hounds led the entire way except for four ties. The last one came at 69-69 with 1:22 left on a layup by Heiman off a steal by Washington.
Nelson found the bottom of the net from 22-feet on the next trip down. After two free throws by Abilene Christian’s Eddie Thompson, Nelson restored a three-point lead with two foul shots at the 19-second mark.
The Wildcats put up two 3-pointers in the closing seconds, but both were off the mark.
The Hounds shot 55 percent from the field (24-of-24) and converted 20-of-25 from the free throw line, allowing them to overcome 25 turnovers. ACU had just 12 turnovers, but shot 6-of-22 from beyond the arc and 11-of-23 from the line.