Bengals hand Rams 83-75 setback

Jan. 23—ESTANCIA — Senior guard Jayson Bruner scored 15 points in a 30-point Gallup third quarter and the Bengals rallied past Portales High's boys 83-75 on Monday in a neutral-court game at Estancia H.S.

Gallup (5-9) put together a 52-point second half to overcome a three-point halftime deficit against the Rams (11-7). Bruner connected on two of his three 3-pointers in the third stanza to help push the Bengals into a four-point lead.

Senior forward/guard Quincy Spencer scored 21 points for Gallup while senior guard/forward Lydell Begay added 11. Both players netted eight points in the final canto to help the Bengals hang on.

Four players reached double digits for the Rams, led by junior forward Paxton Culpepper with 23 points. Culpepper also had 10 assists and six rebounds.

Junior guards Jase Hightower and Joel Lujan tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively, while sophomore post Carson Pfaffenberger compiled 10 points and 10 rebounds.

A back-and-forth first half ended with the Rams leading 34-31, but Gallup quickly moved in front when play resumed. The Bengals used the free throw line down the stretch to clinch the victory.

"Offensively, we played well; defensively, not so much," Rams coach Randy McBroom said. "They (Bengals) just hit a lot of shots, and you have to give them credit for that."

It was the start of a busy week for PHS, which hosted Ruidoso on Tuesday and welcomes New Mexico Military to the Ram Athletic Center on Thursday in its final non-district tilts of the season.

Portales opens its District 4-4A slate on Feb. 2 at Roswell Goddard.