By Travis M. Smith – @travis5mith
Texan News Sports Editor
STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State continues to impress on both ends of the court and heads into Saturday’s Lone Star Conference match-up versus Angelo State with a full head of steam. The No. 4 (12-0) Texans made easy work of the Panthers of York College at Wisdom Gym on Friday night, winning 88-57.
Four different Texans scored in the double digits, and for the second straight game Malcolm Hamilton (18 points) led all scorers. Michael Hardge (16), Nosa Ebomwonyi (10), and TaShawn Mabry (10) all pitched in significantly in the victory. The Texans grabbed a season-high 49 rebounds, and Davene Carter had 13 of those on his own.
Tarleton State will travel to San Angelo on Wednesday to face No. 22 (11-1) Angelo State in its first Lone Star Conference tilt of the season.
This was the first meeting between the two teams, and was listed as an exhibition game for the Panthers.
Davene Carter won the tip, and entered the game needing only 2 rebound to surpass the 400 career mark as a Texan.
The York College Panthers started the game like a team with nothing to lose. They opened with intensity on both ends, playing a tight man-to-man on the defensive end and attacking the basket on offense. Tarleton, with a top-25 Lone Star Conference match-up on the horizon, found itself in the midst of a perfect ‘trap game’ storm.
Malcolm Hamilton, coming off of a 23-point outburst against South Dakota Mines, continues to find ways to score. Hamilton got the Texan offense on the board with his first two points with a put back in the lane.
A pair of Mabry free throws gave TSU its first lead (6-5) with 16:33 to play in the opening half. York quickly converted on the offensive end and Michael Hardge responded by finding the bottom of the net from beyond to the arch. TSU took its second lead, 9-7, with 15:28 to go in the half and never looked back.
The Texans defensive pressure and intensity picked up, forcing the Panthers to a two and a half minute scoring drought. A 7-0 Tarleton run, capped by a Deshawn Riddick layup gave TSU its first 10-point lead. The Texans led 18-8 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the half.
Hamilton slammed home another 2 points, and Tarleton had quickly put together a 20-4 run over six minutes and change. Carter recorded career rebound number 400, 401, 402, and 404 during the stretch along with 2 blocks.
Steady defensive pressure by the Texans and a second Nosa Ebomwonyi triple extended the Texan lead to 21 points, 40-19, with 4:31 left in the first half.
Tarleton dominated the boards in the first half, out rebounding York College 29-16. Carter had 9 rebounds at the break and Ebomwonyi led all scorers with 10 points. Eight different Texans had at least one basket and they took a 47-30 lead into the locker room.
Hamilton and Hardge both scored early and joined Ebomwonyi in double-digit scoring. Carter grabbed his tenth board, marking the fourth time this season he has had 10 or more rebounds in a game. Tarleton led York College 53-32 with 16:26 to play in the contest.
The two teams continued to trade baskets. The Panthers began to show signs of being visibly exhausted, and the Texans took full advantage. Tarleton maintained a 73-48 lead with 6:31 remaining, and was well on its way to a perfect 12-0 start to the season.
The Texans put together another impressive run, this one lasting 7:32, during which a Damion Clemons tip-in put him over the 400 career points plateau. The 23-4 scoring run gave the Texans a 25-point lead with just under 2 minutes to play. Tarleton cruised to its twelfth victory, an 88-57 romping of York College, has won 40 of the last 43 games dating back to last season.
The Texans will return to action on Wednesday, Jan 7 in Angelo. The No. 22 Rams are No. 1 in the nation in scoring differential, are averaging 93 points-per-game, 101 ppg over their last 4 contest and have scored 90 or more points seven different times.