Say one thing for Eastern New Mexico University’s Rodney Blackmon — he’s not afraid to take the big shot.
For the third time this season, the junior guard from Los Angeles took the clock down to the end and hit a game-winner — this one from about 12 feet out in the lane — to give the Greyhounds a 74-72 Lone Star Conference men’s victory over Cameron at Greyhound Arena.
Greyhound freshman forward Lawrence Domingo takes one under the basket and past Cameron University's Trevor Smith for two points Wednesday night during the Greyhounds game against the Cameron University Aggies at Greyhound Arena.
Blackmon struggled much of the night, hitting two of his first 13 shots before going 6-for-8 down the stretch and scoring 16 of the Hounds’ final 18 points. He finished with 22 points, while junior guard Rafael Love posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“He’s very much a guy that once he gets feeling it, he can do that,” ENMU men’s coach Andrew Helton said of Blackmon. “Rafael played good tonight; Rodney struggled for 25 minutes, but for the last 15 he was unbelievable.”
The win was the fourth in a row for the Hounds (10-11, 7-6 LSC), who are in a virtual tie for fourth place in the LSC with Tarleton State (13-5, 6-5). The Aggies (12-7, 8-5) fell into third place, one-half game behind idle Incarnate Word (12-8, 8-4).
Blackmon was also primarily responsible for checking Cameron guard Craig Foster, who scored 19 points but had to work hard for it. Foster made 1-of-2 free throws with 20 seconds left to tie the score, and after a timeout, Blackmon took care of the rest.
He eventually worked his way into the paint and floated a shot off the board and in with two seconds left. Foster’s desperation 3-pointer from near halfcourt was blocked by ENMU’s Phil Henry as time expired.
“I told (Helton) at halftime, ‘I just need one to go,’” Blackmon said. “He said, ‘Just keep shooting.’ Once one went in, I was fine after that.”
Love carried the Hounds in the first half, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds to lift ENMU to a 35-32 lead.
”We need him to play like that for us to win,” Blackmon said.
The Hounds won without junior guard Kyle Lantz, who injured his left knee in the second half of Saturday’s 65-64 win over Abilene Christian. His status for Saturday’s game at league-leading Midwestern State is unknown.
The Mustangs (15-5, 11-2), who won at West Texas A&M 55-42 on Wednesday night, routed the Hounds 82-53 at Greyhound Arena on New Year’s Eve.
“They’re a really good team, but that was a game where we contributed a lot to (the blowout),” Helton said. “Every game for us is a dogfight, and what we have to do is play well enough to be in the dogfight.”
Blackmon said the Hounds are looking to make amends.
“We’re coming back for revenge on them,” he said. “We just had a bad game. It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to be ready.”
Aaron Thompson, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, finished with 15 points and had three of Cameron’s seven 3-pointers.