By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Road warriors to this point in the season, Eastern New Mexico University’s basketball teams will get a chance to try to put something together at home over the next few weeks.
ENMU’s men play six of their next eight at Greyhound Arena — one of the road outings is a short trip to West Texas A&M on Monday — while the women play seven of the next nine at home.
Both teams are 4-1 at home, records that figure to be put to the test tonight when Tarleton State’s Lone Star Conference South Division-leading squads come to town.
Tarleton’s men (14-4, 3-0 South) have won LSC division titles in three of the past four seasons, including two in a three-year stint in the North before returning to the South this season.
“They’ve got great personnel,” ENMU men’s coach Shawn Scanlan said of the Texans. “They’re just very sound, and if they run their stuff well, they’re effective.
“They’re at least as good as anybody we’ve played this year.”
The Greyhounds (7-10, 1-1) are looking to bounce back from an 82-73 loss on Saturday at Abilene Christian, which snapped their season-best three-game winning streak.
The Wildcats ambushed ENMU with five 3-pointers in the first four minutes for a 17-6 lead, and the Hounds never recovered.
“It was disappointing,” Scanlan said. “We were coming off a good win Thursday (at Angelo State), and I thought we would’ve come out with more energy.
“We just never established a foundation to play off of in that game.”
Tarleton’s women (12-5, 4-0) are putting together a solid season. While the TexAnns have won eight of their last 10 games, the Zias (8-9, 0-3) have dropped eight of 10.
“They’re pretty physical; they’re a good defensive team,” Zias coach Dan Buzard said. “They’re probably as good defensively as anybody we play in the conference.”
Senior post Tiana Bryant has carried the injury-ravaged Zias this season, averaging around 18 points and nine rebounds a game.
Buzard is looking for others to deliver more consistency.
“We need a few more to step in there and pitch in,” he said.
With the favorable home stretch ahead, both ENMU squads are looking to put something together.
This is the part of the schedule for us to do that,” Scanlan said. “We need to take advantage of it.”
Added Buzard, whose team’s three South losses have been on the road: “We need to get something going, and there’s no time like the present. With five straight home games, hopefully we can play well and get some momentum.”
ENMU (7-10, 1-1 Lone Star Conference South) vs. Tarleton State (14-4, 3-0), 7:30 p.m. today at Greyhound Arena.
Radio: KSEL-FM 95.3.
On the Net: www.enmu.edu/athletics.
Notes: The Texans are 18-6 all-time against ENMU and have won the last 15 matchups, although a couple of recent ones have been particularly close. … Tarleton moved from the LSC South to the North prior to the 2002-03 season before returning to the South this year. … The Texans are coming off a 90-59 rout of Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday at home in which they jumped out to a 41-9 lead late in the first half. … Tarleton leads NCAA Division II in scoring defense (53.6) and FG percentage defense (36.5), while standing seventh in scoring margin (17.3) and eighth in rebound margin (9.1). … Team leaders are 6-1 senior G LaShon Sheffield (13.7 ppg, 70 assists), 6-7 junior F John Davis (12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and 6-7 senior F Nic Gamble (11.6 ppg). Sheffield is shooting 48 percent from 3-point range (44-of-91).
ENMU (8-9, 0-3 Lone Star Conference South) vs. Tarleton State (12-5, 4-0), 5:30 p.m. today at Greyhound Arena.
Radio: KSEL-AM 1450.
On the Net: www.enmu.edu/athletics.
Notes: ENMU leads the TexAnns all-time 11-9. … Tarleton is off to its best start in division/conference play since joining the LSC in 1991. … Amanda Franklin, a 5-9 senior F, leads the team in scoring (14.2), with 6-1 senior C Iveta Griffin (14.1), 5-5 junior G Katie Crawford (11.9) and 5-10 senior C Isha Brown (10.1) also scoring in double figures. … Brown shoots 66 percent from the field and Griffin leads the team in rebounds with 8.1 per game, while Crawford has 73 assists and ranks 12th in Division II in 3-point FG percentage (43.8).