The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds (4-15, 0-4) hung around until the final two minutes but couldn’t drop the hammer on their first conference win Wednesday, falling 70-60 to Texas A&M-Kingsville (13-6, 3-1).
“I think ENMU came to play tonight,” said Javelina coach Pete Peterson. “I’ve been in the same position Shawn (Scanlan) was in tonight, trying to get your first conference win and its tough, especially in the Lonestar Conference. I thought his team did well.”
Scanlan said his team knew coming in they were up against the wall with a depleted bench. He said while he was proud that his squad kept things close, he wasn’t happy with the effort.
“We’re struggling to find a way to win right now,” Scanlan said. “We had chances and we just didn’t take advantage of them.”
After trailing from early in the first half, ENMU narrowed the Javelina lead to just two possessions with just over five minutes left in the game. ENMU junior Equs Darby got a basket with 5:45 after TAMU-K was called for goal tending to make it 56-50. After a defensive rebound the Hounds closed the gap to 56-52 with a tip-in from junior Dannon Wafer.
After that ENMU couldn’t find the spark when they needed it most. TAMU-K junior Robert Williams put his team up 60-54 then sank a pair of free throws with 1:11 left to give his team its first 10-point edge of the night.
Scanlan said the concern going in was that his team wouldn’t have the wind to stay with the fast transitioning Javelinas. That turned out not to be a big factor, however. Scanlan said the latter part of the game was played at a pace his team wasn’t having a problem with, things just didn’t seem to gel he thought.
“We have a lot of intangibles that are lacking right now,” Scanlan said. “We had a chance, we just didn’t jump up and seize it. It’s frustrating at this point (in the season) because the opportunities were there.”
The Javelinas outshot ENMU from the floor, hitting 52.5 percent to the Hound’s 42.9 percent. But it was at the line where the difference was greatest with Kingsville going 7-8 for 87.5 percent and ENMU shooting just 69.2 percent.
TAMU-K senior Clyde Johnson scored a game-high 22 points for the Javelinas while Williams scored 14.
ENMU was paced by 17 from Darby and 14 from Wafer.
The Hounds are back in action Saturday as they host San Angelo State in an 8 p.m. tip-off.