Eleventh-ranked LSU-Alexandria (20-4, 12-0) was fortunate to leave Texarkana Thursday night with a 67-65 victory over Texas A&M University-Texarkana at the Patterson Student Center.
The Eagles scored the game’s first three points, and didn’t trail until the final 57 seconds against the Louisiana club, which lost in the NAIA National Championship Game last year. Chris Vickers, the second leading scorer in the Red River Athletic Conference, buried a trey with a hand in his face that put the Generals on top.
“We played a great thirty-five minutes or so,” said TAMU-T coach Ryan Wall. “You’ve got to play a perfect game against people like LSU-Alexandria. They’re ranked for a reason, and they’ve got a lot of good players. Our guys did a great job of executing the game plan. We just didn’t execute it for forty minutes.”
TAMU-T (9-14, 4-7) led by as many as 17 in the first half. The Eagles missed their last eight shots from the field, and the Generals cut their deficit to 35-28 at intermission.
“They were hitting deep, contested, three-pointers in the second half,” said Wall. “They were NBA-threes. If they’re making those it’s going to make a long night whoever you play. Turnovers were our Achilles Heel tonight, we couldn’t protect the ball.”
Eagles outrebound LSU-Alexandria
Part of Texarkana’s success could be credited to the Eagles’ rebounding. They actually had a height advantage on the Generals, outrebounding the visitors, 45-33. Sophomore Connor Ouellette had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Junior Shaheed Halk of Little Rock, led the Eagles with 18 points. Desmond Kennedy scored 16, with 6-7 Seyi Imade contributing 10 points and seven rebounds. Kennedy never came off the floor, playing all 40 minutes.
Twelve turnovers in the second half by the Eagles led to a 13-point turnaround at the end. Alexandria came into the game as the top-ranked 3-point shooting team in the nation. They managed only four treys in the first half, but converted 9 of 20 in the final 20 minutes,
Texarkana outshot the Generals percentage wise 44 percent to 35, but Alexandria took 11 more shots from the field, too.
“We saw some good things from Morgan Garner tonight, and Seyi played a great game,” said Wall. “We’re good when Seyi contributes like he did tonight. He did everything we asked him to do. It’s a good stat to see we actually outrebounded somebody, but then we go back to not handling the ball.”
Jordan Adebutu led the Generals with 16 points, including four treys. Junior Adams scored 13, converting three 3-pointers. Vickers and Anthony Stove had 10 points each.