Two of Texas A&M-Texarkana’s best players were sidelined with the flu for Thursday’s Red River Athletic Conference game with the University of the Southwest.
Junior Anthony McGee and freshman Decorion Phillips were watching from the stands as the Eagles lost a heart-breaker in overtime at the Patterson Student Center to the visiting New Mexico squad, 89-82. Texarkana will be back in action Saturday at 4 p.m. against Paul Quinn College.
“Not having a lot of depth is a problem for anybody, and losing two guys is always going to hurt your team,” said TAMU-T coach Ryan Wall. “It was a grinding game. I knew it would be because that’s the way they play.
“I hate losing! Every lost game is a disappointment. The good thing about some of them is that you can learn from them and build on it. Some are a lack of effort, or of that nature. I’ve always gone into every game with the fear of losing. It was good to see our guys grind it out tonight. The ball just happened to go their way there at the end.”
Southwest forced overtime on late free throw
The Mustangs’ Akeem Black converted one of two free throws with no time on the clock in regulation.
TAMU-T (5-11, 0-4) never led in the overtime, but had the ball in the final minute with the score tied 82-82. Newcomer Micah Thomas missed a long 3-pointer, and the Mustangs pulled away at the charity stripe. Thomas, a native of Memphis, Tenn., signed two years ago with Maryland. He hadn’t played in two years because of a knee injury.
Up until that latter point of the game, the Eagles had been impressive at both ends of the court despite being shorthanded. Sophomore Connor Ouellette matched his career-high with 29 points, while senior Desmond Kennedy poured in 24 points. The 6-7 Thomas contributed 15 points on five 3-pointers.
“Thomas is a big-time shooter,” said Wall. “He’s got to get the motion, time of possession and understanding back, but he’ll come around. Ouellette is very consistent. It’s the same thing every night with him. I know what he’s going to do. I’m hoping Anthony and Decorion will be back Saturday. It’s up the them.”
Rebounding a key negative for Eagles
Besides losing, the most obvious negative for the Eagles was their inability to rebound with Southwest (8-6, 4-1). The Mustangs dominated the glass, 40-28. Black pulled down a game-high eight rebounds for the winners.
“Rebounding continues to be a negative for us,” said the Eagles’ coach. “We were in a zone and giving up too many layups. We talked about it at halftime, but we just couldn’t guard them.”
Southwest had four players scoring in double digits. Forward Joshua Harris led the way with 19, including 9 of 9 from the free throw line. Black scored 17, and Alex Pena added 15. Guard Derrick Hall scored 12 before fouling out.