STEPHENVILLE – For the second time under Lonn Reisman and the second straight season, No. 7 Tarleton State has opened the season 7-0 with a 75-64 win against St. Mary’s (3-4) Saturday night in Wisdom Gym.
This is the 18th different seven-game winning streak for Tarleton in Resiman’s tenure and the 12th streak of this length since becoming an NCAA institution in 1994.
Tarleton got the scoring started in style just 18 seconds into the game when Davene Carter threw down an alley oop from Michael Hardge, who dished out a career-high seven assists. The Carter dunk was the first of seven straight points to open the game for Tarleton.
As would be the case throughout the game, St. Mary’s clawed right back but was unable to ever take a lead – beginning when the Rattlers pulled to within 11-10 with 13:17 left in the half.
EJ Reed put an end to the first St. Mary’s push when the junior from Mesquite converted an old-fashioned 3-point play for the first of 13 unanswered points for the Texans that extended the lead to 24-10. A step-back jumper from Mo Lee capped off the 13-0 Tarleton run with 8:37 to go in the opening half.
The Rattlers cut the Tarleton lead to as low as nine with 1:35 left in the opening half before a pair of Lee free throws and a Hardge layup sent Tarleton to halftime with a 36-23 advantage.
St. Mary’s cut the Tarleton lead to as low as eight on two different occasions over the first six minutes of the second half, but a pair of Hardge free throws and a 3-ball from Mabry answered the call for the Texans and extended the lead back to 13.
After the Rattlers reeled off a 24-17 run to bring the Tarleton lead to 62-59 with 2:10 left in the game, Tarleton hit eight free throws down the stretch and got a layup and a game-clinching 3-ball from Malcolm Hamilton to end the game on a 13-5 run and claim the win.
Tarleton got double-figure scoring efforts from five Texans, including a team-best 14 points from Lee. Carter and TaShawn Mabry each poured in 12 points while Hardge added 11 to go along with his seven assists. Damion Clemons added 10 points and a team-high eight boards off the bench.
Hamilton and Reed scored seven points each off the bench while Teven Jones rounded out the scoring with two points.
The Texans were 50 percent from the field and 82 percent at the charity stripe while winning the battle of the boards 26-24 and the turnover battle 13-17.
Tarleton will take a week off for finals before returning to action Dec. 15 against Paul Quinn at 7 p.m. in Wisdom Gym. The Paul Quinn game will be the final home game before the Texans head to Las Vegas on Dec. 18-19.