STEPHENVILLE – The stingy Texan defense lived up to its billing Friday night as No. 4 Tarleton State improved to 12-0 on the season with an 88-57 rout of Nebraska’s York College (8-7) in the first game of the New Year.
In addition to the 12th straight victory this season, the win also marks the 27th straight victory for Tarleton over a non-conference opponent inside Wisdom Gym.
The Panthers came out firing by scoring the first point of the game en route to a 5-2 push over the first 2:38 of the game before a layup from Davene Carter started a 22-5 run for Tarleton State over the next six minutes to put the Texans up 24-10 with 11:04 left in the opening half.
Over that run, Tarleton got scoring from seven different Texans.
After a jumper from York College cut the Tarleton lead to 12 with 9:54 left, Mo Lee started another Texan run that extended the Tarleton advantage to over 20. The Lee layup was the beginning of a 20-8 Tarleton run over the next seven minutes that gave the Texans a 44-20 advantage with two minutes left.
York College pushed right back, however, in the final two minutes with a 10-3 surge to bring the halftime score to 47-30 in Tarleton’s favor. Out of the break, York College cut the Texan lead to 15 and, despite a Tarleton surge, kept the game within 15 points at 59-44 with 12:16 left in the game.
A Michael Hardge 3-ball put a stop to the Panther run and started another Tarleton surge over the next eight minutes that gave the Texans their biggest lead of the game at 85-50. The Hardge 3-ball started a 26-6 Tarleton run that included a scoreless drought of over three minutes for the Panthers.
The Texan defense smothered the Panthers and held them to just 30 percent shooting from the floor on 20-66 and 13 percent from downtown on 3-24 shooting. York College also hit just 56 percent of its free throws on the night.
Meanwhile, Tarleton State won the battle of the boards 49-36 and blocked 10 shots. The Texans outscored York 42-28 in the paint, 19-8 off turnovers and 27-16 off the bench.
Fresh off his 23-point effort in his first career start Tuesday night, Malcolm Hamilton followed up with an 18-point performance on 9-14 shooting from the floor Friday. He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out two assists, blocked two shots and forced a steal.
Hardge also scored a career-high 16 points while Nosa Ebomwonyi and TaShawn Mabry added 10 points each. Carter led the team with 13 rebounds while Mabry added nine in a near double-double performance.
Tarleton State will be back in action Wednesday night when they open Lone Star Conference play on the road against No. 22 Angelo State at 8 p.m. in the Junell Center. Wednesday’s game will be the 800th career game of Lonn Reisman‘s historic tenure as the coach of Tarleton State University.