Eagles’ first-year program one win away from postseason after beating Jarvis Christian

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TAMU-T's Kaland Johnson (22) and Connor Ouellette (5) congratulate each other on the Eagles' win Thursday over Jarvis Christian University. One more win and the Eagles' first-year program will be in the RRAC Postseason Tournament.

 

Texas A&M University-Texarkana’s first-season basketball program has an opportunity to do something special Saturday at the Patterson Student Center.

The Eagles never trailed Thursday night in beating Jarvis Christian University, 61-49. If TAMU-T beats Texas College on Saturday, the Eagles will be bound for the Red River Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament.

“Getting to the postseason tournament would be bigtime for this program,” said TAMU-T coach Ryan Wall. “These kids have fought hard, and deserve this opportunity. It’s hard to make the playoffs at any level. It’s one-and-done in the postseason, and who knows, you could sneak into the national tournament.”

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Connor Ouellette scores on a short hook shot.

Texarkana improves to 11-18 overall and 6-11 in the RRAC. Jarvis Christian, Texas College, Our Lady of the Lake and Paul Quinn are all one game behind the Eagles in the conference standings.

Defense was the decisive factor Thursday between the Eagles and Jarvis Christian. TAMU-T led 24-6 thirteen minutes into the game. However, the Bulldogs outscored Texarkana 10-0 during those final seven minutes of the first half.

“We stopped executing on defense and rebounding,” said Wall. “We did regain our early momentum and that was the key to the outcome. Our effort tonight  was a lot better than what we showed on the last road trip. Our defense stepped up tremendously.”

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Kennedy helps Eagles’ program succeed

Senior Desmond Kennedy ignited the Eagles’ early success with a pair of 3-pointers. Post Seyi Imade contributed four points, including a spectacular dunk. He also blocked two shots.

The Bulldogs rallied within two points twice in the second half. Each time Kennedy or Connor Ouellette provided a spark to keep Texarkana on top.

Kennedy led all scorers with 19 points, while Ouellette scored 10 of his 14 points in the final 20 minutes. The former Pleasant Grove standout also contributed a team-high seven rebounds and six assists.

TyWaun Hampton led the Bulldogs with 12 points. McShane Wyatt and Korey McQueen added 11 points each.

“We’ll prepare for Saturday’s game just like any other game,” said Wall. “Hopefully we’ll play with a lot of energy.”