Basketball, College

Defense stifles York College as No. 4 Tarleton State improves to 12-0

tarleton_logoSTEPHENVILLE – 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.

EJ Reed, Deshawn Riddick and Damion Clemons each added seven points off the bench while Mo Leerounded out the scoring with six.

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.

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