EDMOND, Okla. — After battling back from an early 22-point deficit, the last eight seconds were a little too long Saturday for the Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball team.
The Greyhounds trailed the entire way until the final 3 1/2 minutes, then held a two-point lead in the closing seconds. But Central Oklahoma scored the tying basket on a Brian Walker’s rebound of a teammate’s air-balled 3-pointer with eight seconds left, then reserve Lance Harper forced a turnover and hit the second of two free throws with four seconds to go to allow the Bronchos to escape with an 80-79 Lone Star Conference men’s crossover victory.
For the Hounds (2-7), it was their sixth loss in a row and the second tough one on the weekend trip to Oklahoma. They lost in overtime at Northeastern State on Thursday night.
Senior guard Sam Belt led five Bronchos in double figures with 18 points. Senior guard Justin Redman-Trotter compiled 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the Hounds, while guards Marquis Ruffin and Kevin Davis added 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Belt hit a 3-pointer with 4:20 left in the half to stake the Bronchos (8-2) to a 44-22 lead. ENMU then finished the half on a 13-2 run, holding the Bronchos without a field goal to pull to 46-35 at the break.
The lead stayed in double figures until Redman-Trotter hit a 3-pointer with 10:18 left, making it 62-55. ENMU continued to chip away, finally tying it 73-73 on Jamaal McCoy’s free throw with 3:24 to go.
McCoy’s layup put the Hounds in front again 78-77 with 35 seconds left. Central’s Eric Cazenave then missed two free throws, and Redman-Trotter converted the second of two shots with 19 seconds to go for a two-point ENMU lead.
Both teams shot just over 50 percent for the game. The Hounds stayed in it by netting 18-of-22 free throws and dominating the boards 39-24, but they committed 19 turnovers and went just 3-of-13 from 3-point range.