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Comeback by Hounds falls short

Jan. 23—Eastern New Mexico University's men may have been down on Saturday, but they were hardly out.

Trailing by 20 points with less than 13 minutes to go, the Greyhounds put together a furious comeback, actually taking the lead twice in the final two minutes before second-ranked rival West Texas A&M pulled out an 89-87 Lone Star Conference victory at Greyhound Arena.

Senior guard Larry Wise's 3-pointer off a fast break put the Buffaloes (16-1, 10-0 LSC) in front 85-84 in the final minute, and WT converted four free throws the rest of the way to escape with their 13th consecutive win.

Wise finished with 25 points for the Buffs, although the Hounds (11-5, 7-3) made him work hard in the second half by holding him to 5-of-14 from the field.

"It was two good teams just throwing punches at each other," ENMU men's coach Brent Owen said. "I was proud of the way we played. Our guys fought really hard and took a (late) lead. We just didn't quite finish."

Freshman guard Kieran Elliott added 18 points for WT while sophomore guards Ahamed Mohammed and Brock Mishak contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively. Except for their only loss, an 80-79 decision to Metro State in mid-November, it was the Buffs' closest game of the campaign.

"There's seven teams (out of eight) on our side (LSC West Division) fighting for a spot (in the LSC tournament)," Buffs coach Tom Brown said. "This side (of the conference) will be tough going forward."

Senior guard Greg Johnson, the LSC's player of the week on offense the previous week, shot 11-of-16 from the floor and poured in 28 points for the Hounds. He also had five assists and five rebounds.

"No. 5 is really a handful," Brown said of Johnson. "When he's making his 3s (Johnson went 3-of-5 from distance), it's really tough.

"It's really hard to stop those guys 1-on-1, and when you get them in transition they're really tough."

Senior guard/forward Jahcoree Ealy had 16 points and junior forward Mario Whitley tossed in 10 for ENMU. Owen used only three players off the bench, but all eight Hounds finished with at least four points.

WT used an 8-0 run to open an 11-point lead after 8 1/2 minutes and went into halftime in front 51-39. That margin grew to 67-47 after a goal-tending call on a fast-break drive by Mohammed with 12:49 left.

ENMU, though, outscored the Buffs 40-22 the rest of the way to make it interesting.

"I thought the crowd brought some great energy," Owen said. "I think our guys were tired (late), but they played off that energy."

While WT shot 52 percent from the floor, the Hounds finished at 58 percent (32-of-55), led by Johnson and Ealy (7-of-10).

"(Johnson) is playing some great basketball," Owen said. "He hadn't really taken off for a long time, but we said it was just a matter of time. He's really finding his rhythm."

The quality of play from both teams was high, Brown said.

"This was a great college basketball game," he said. "If you're not entertained by these two teams, I think there's something wrong."

The loss prevented a Hounds sweep of their four-game homestand. They return to action on Thursday night at Texas A&M International and on Saturday afternoon at Texas A&M-Kingsville.