CNJ Photo: Liliana Castillo ENMU junior guard Marquis Ruffin looks up for a teammate during Saturday’s game against West Texas A&M at Greyhound Arena.
PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds gave it a run with a short hand Saturday night.
Playing with only six players in uniform, the Greyhounds hung with West Texas A&M for much of the first half at Greyhound Arena. The Buffaloes were never able to blow the Hounds out of the water, but they eventually nailed down a 63-52 Lone Star Conference South Division victory.
Junior guard Kyle Shields scored 16 points for the Buffs (12-5, 2-0 South), while senior forward Chris Hinz and senior guard Robert Lee chipped in 12 points apiece.
ENMU (6-11, 0-2) got a game-high 22 points from senior guard Justin Redman-Trotter and 15 from senior forward Kendall Clark.
ENMU had three players sitting out suspensions for the game, and had only its other five regular players plus new walkon Jamaal Hadley available to play in the game.
“We competed,” Hounds coach Shawn Scanlan said. “I thought we played pretty hard, but in the end we just had too many miscues.”
WT got out to a 7-2 lead, but the Hounds went on a 7-0 run over about 6 1/2 minutes to pull in front 19-15 midway through the first half.
Shields hit a jumper at the 8:26 mark to tie the score 21-21, then on their next trip down the Buffs got a 3-pointers from senior forward Tyler Cooper to take the lead for good.
The Hounds pulled to 26-23 on a basket by Redman-Trotter with just under five minutes left in the half, but managed only two more points the remainder of the period. Hinz scored with 30 seconds left to push the margin into double figures for the first time at 36-25 at halftime.
WT took its biggest lead of the night at 41-27 on a 3-pointer by Cooper early in the second half, a margin it matched three more times. A basket by Travis Cooper and Kendall Clark got the Hounds within 45-37 with 12 minutes left, but they were never able to get closer.
“We had three straight possessions with an eight-point deficit and we couldn’t cut it,” Scanlan said. “We never got the game to where they felt like they had a chance to get beat.”
Two free throws by guard Marquis Ruffin with 3:01 left kept the Hounds within eight points, but the Buffs shut them out the rest of the way.
Eastern hovered around the 50 percent mark from the field for the game, finishing at 48 percent (19-of-40), but its 16 turnovers proved costly. Redman-Trotter, who played the entire 40 minutes, went 8-for-15 fom the field while Clark finished 5-for-8.
Meantime, the Buffs shot 50 percent on 28-of-56, led by Shields with 8-of-13.