In a game that swung back and forth, West Texas A&M made just enough plays in overtime.
Senior guard Darnell Jackson hit a fadeaway 3-pointer out of the right corner with 40 seconds left in the OT and the shot clock running out, giving the Buffaloes just enough cushion for a 69-65 Lone Star Conference men's basketball victory over Eastern New Mexico University on Wednesday night at Greyhound Arena.
Jackson scored eight of his 13 points in the OT session as the Buffs (12-5, 4-5 LSC) led the entire period. The teams meet again on Saturday in Canyon.
ENMU point guard Lakeeyscia Griffin muscles her way around West Texas A&M's Taryn Borchart during the first half of Wednesday night's matchup at Greyhound Arena.
"It's just disappointing," ENMU coach Andrew Helton said of the loss. "We needed to win that game at home."
Senior forward Donald Sims fell just short of a triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight of WT's 10 blocked shots. Senior forward Mason White finished with 16 points — eight above his average — and eight rebounds, and guard Tez Dumars chipped in 13 points off the bench.
"Darnell hit a really hard shot (on the 3 in OT)," WT coach Rick Cooper said. "Every game from now on is a huge game. It's just a dogfight (in the LSC)."
Junior guard Rodney Blackmon scored 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting, including three big 3-pointers late in regulation and the OT to keep the Greyhounds (6-11, 3-6) in the hunt. Junior guard Rafael Love finished with 12 points while freshman forward Lawrence Domingo added 12 off the bench.
ENMU got off to an 8-2 lead, but shot just 9-of-29 overall and 2-of-14 from 3-point range in a first half that ended with the Buffs in front 25-22.
"We played good enough defense to have a lead (at halftime)," Helton said. "But when you shoot 2-for-14 (on 3s), that's just not good."
With the Hounds trailing 43-40, Blackmon assisted on layups by Domingo and junior Phil Henry, and followed with a transition 3-pointer off a blocked shot by Henry to put the Hounds up by four with just over seven minutes left.
Then, after WT tied it with four points from White, Blackmon drove the lane to score and followed with a 3 from the key for a 52-47 lead with 3:39 to go.
"He's a talented player," Cooper said of Blackmon. "He's unpredictable and he's talented, and that makes him hard to guard."
WT countered with an 8-1 run before Love hit a pair of free throws with 40 seconds left to force the OT. White's 17-footer from the key was off the mark as time expired.