Effort wasn’t the problem for Eastern New Mexico University’s men Monday night.
Southwestern Oklahoma, coming in shooting nearly 40 percent from the season from 3-point range, hit 10 of its first 13 shots from beyond the arc and were 15-of-24 overall and the Bulldogs held on for a 79-74 Lone Star Conference crossover win at Greyhound Arena.
Senior guard Kenneth White went 6-for-9 from 3-point range and finished with 24 points while senior guard Jerard Campbell added 23 for Southwestern (9-4), which built a 15-point lead earlier in the second half, then pulled away late after ENMU (4-10) tied it in the second half.
“I’m going to give them credit,” ENMU coach Shawn Scanlan said. “They shot the lights out tonight.”
Guard Kendall Smith added 12 points for the Bulldogs, going 4-for-7 from 3-point distance, while reserve Jose Garcia added three 3-pointers and finished with 10 points.
“I think we had a good rhythm going,” Southwestern coach Todd Thurman said. “We were playing well, but Shawn does a good job of controlling the tempo.”
Southwestern outscored ENMU 22-7 over the final seven minutes of the half to build a 40-28 lead.
Thurman said the Hounds then took his team out of its comfort zone.
“It came easy,” he said of the Bulldogs’ early 3-point barrage. “We were getting open shots, so we quit working (hard enough) for it.”
Thurman credited Scanlan’s second-half switch from man-to-man defense to a zone for helping slow the Bulldogs. ENMU held Southwestern without a field goal for more than four minutes and went on a 14-1 run to tie the score 46-46 on a basket by junior Equs Darby with 12:58 left.
The Bulldogs got a backdoor layup from Campbell and a 3-pointer from the right wing by Garcia to build a five-point lead, which they maintained the rest of the way.
Darby went 10-for-12 from the field and finished with a season-high 23 for the Hounds. Juniors Dannon Wafer, Jimmie Marshall and Aaron King each added 12 points.
ENMU shot 58 percent from the floor (33-of-57), but managed only 2-for-12 from long range. The Bulldogs shot 59 percent overall (26-of-44).
“Equs played like Equs can play,” Scanlan said. “We just need to see that Equs Darby more often. He needs to expect that from himself.”
Scanlan had four players unable to due to injury and illness, including guard Justin Reynolds, who was coming off back-to-back 18-point performances. Reynolds became ill before the game, he said.
“In a game like this, you need everybody, but you can’t control that,” Scanlan said. “Our effort was good. All you can control is who can play.”