Freedom New Mexico photo: Mickey Winfield Greyhound junior guard Marquis Ruffin puts up a shot against Abilene Christian defender Stephen Musa Wednesday. ACU won 84-60.
By Mickey Winfield: Freedom New Mexico
PORTALES — Abilene Christian was hot. The Eastern New Mexico University Greyhounds were not.
The result was the Greyhounds’ eighth straight loss.
ACU shot better than 54 percent from the field, including 13-of-21 from 3-point range, in an 84-60 Lone Star Conference South win at Greyhound Arena.
While the Wildcats were converting on most of their shots, the Greyhounds struggled from the field, shooting 38 percent.
“When (Abilene Christian) shoots that well — we could maybe have been at our best, and the shooting might have been the difference in the game anyway,” Greyhound coach Shawn Scanlan said.
The Wildcats (16-6, 3-4) never trailed, jumping out to a 7-0 lead.
Greyhound seniors Justin Redman-Trotter and Kendall Clark each collected two quick field goals, and the ACU lead was cut to three points at 12-9 and later 15-13. But that’s as close as the Greyhounds would get.
The Wildcats combined their assault on the basket with stifling defense to extend their lead to 45-23 at the half.
ACU began the second half with an 15-7 run to grow their lead to 60-30 and cruised to their third Lone Star Conference victory.
ENMU (6-17, 0-8) did show signs of life in the last two minutes, closing out the game on a 15-0 run, and Scanlan took notice.
“They fought all the way to the end. I was extremely proud of them,” Scanlan said. “This was a monumental effort on their part, I thought they finished strong. They got down big in the second half but they finished as well as they possibly could have.”
“I think our team played with a lot of heart,” freshman forward Matt Churchman said. “We never gave up and that last run shows how much heart we have and how much we gave it.”
Clark led the Hounds with 26 points while pulling down eight boards. Redman-Trotter followed Clark’s effort with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 steals.
Abilene Christian had three players in double figures.
Junior forward Dejan Sencanski led the Wildcats with 29 points and four rebounds. Senior guard Brandon Callahan added 15 points, while junior forward Marco Nikolic contributed 10 points.
“The guys battled,” Scanlan said. “I don’t know if anybody understands what a difficult thing it is to go through something like this. It’s so easy to not try, just to give into it and say, ‘I don’t want to try.’”