By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Eastern New Mexico University’s men have had their way with East Central in recent years.
The shorthanded Greyhounds (3-8) hoped to continue that trend in today’s 7:30 p.m. clash at Greyhound Arena.
ENM has beaten the Tigers seven times in a row dating to a January 2001. East Central is off to a 6-3 start, though, while the Greyhounds are scheduled to dress only seven players for the third consecutive game.
“They’re big,” ENMU men’s coach Shawn Scanlan said. “They were real young a year ago. They run their stuff well. They’re not flashy, and they don’t change a whole lot.”
Women’s teams meet in the opener of a league doubleheader.
The Hounds are coming off a 74-60 loss Saturday at Lubbock Christian. They got off to an 11-2 start against the Chaparrals and still led 31-30 at halftime despite 10 turnovers and 11 missed free throws in the opening 20 minutes.
“We put a lot of emphasis on getting off to a good start, and we did,” Scanlan said. “But after that, it didn’t translate into very good basketball.”
Scanlan said junior forward Travis Cooper continues to sit out a team suspension, noting that he “still has some issues to clear up.”
Scanlan said he’s hoping to pick up a couple of walk-ons when the second semester starts later this month.
“Those seven (active players) have to accept the challenge,” he said. “We haven’t put the focus and effort into the same venture yet.”
ENMU’s women (2-7) are playing for the first time since a Dec. 17 win at New Mexico Highlands. Zias coach Linden Weese said his 17-player roster has been pared to 13 with four girls not returning to the squad, including three of the team’s five non-freshmen.
The Zias returned to practice on Sunday. Weese said he isn’t sure how the layoff will affect his team.
“We’ll find out,” he said. “People handled it differently, but I think our kids needed a break.”
Weese said he thinks the Zias are beginning to come around.
“We’re starting to see longer stretches of consistency,” he said. “I think they’re really starting to grow up.
“It’s just taking us a while to piece it all together. The longer we go, the better we feel about it.”
East Central brings a 7-2 mark into tonight’s game. The Lady Tigers have four players averaging in double figures, led by senior Lacey Goldwire at 20.2 ppg.