CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo ENMU’s Dannon Wafer lunges to try to get the ball away from Cameron’s Terrance Welch during the first half of Saturday’s Lone Star Conference men’s crossover game at Greyhound Arena.
By Dave Wagner: CNJ staff writer
Eastern New Mexico University’s men have struggled in the second half of games at times this season — including Monday, when they nearly let a 15-point cushion get away before holding off Lubbock Christian.
Saturday, after building a nine-point halftime lead, the Greyhounds finished the job in style with a 70-54 Lone Star Conference crossover win over Cameron at Greyhound Arena.
“I thought our second half was much better than our second half against Lubbock Christian,” ENMU men’s coach Shawn Scanlan said. “We did a lot of good things.
“Today, we didn’t go from a 19-point lead to a five-point lead. I think we’re getting better.”
Junior guard Justin Reynolds had 18 points and five assists, leading four players scoring in double figures for the Hounds (3-9). Junior guard Aaron King had 12 points off the bench, junior forward Dannon Wafer added 11 points and junior guard Jimmie Marshall chipped in 10 points to go with a season-high eight assists.
“We started off good the first half, but sometimes we get too comfortable (with a lead),” Reynolds said. “We wanted to keep our energy and our poise, and just stay consistent.”
Cameron (5-5) led 16-10 after about eight minutes, but managed only five points the rest of the half. King’s 3-pointer put ENMU in front for good 20-18, and they held the Aggies scoreless for the final 4 1/2 minutes of the period in opening a 30-21 lead.
ENMU then went on a 12-0 run early in the second half for a 21-point cushion. The Aggies didn’t get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
The Hounds, who have often struggled to get shots down, shot a season-best 58 percent, including 70 percent (16-of-23) in the second half. They were 5-for-11 on 3-pointers.
“During two-a-days (over the break), our first practice was a lot of shooting,” said Reynolds, who matched his second scoring best for the second game in a row and went 8-for-16 from the field. “It’s all about confidence; the more confident you get, the better you shoot.”
ENMU finished with 17 assists and 13 turnovers, only the second time this season they’ve had more assists.
“Coach was talking about (North Carolina guard) Ty Lawson and how his assist-to-turnover ration was about 5-1,” Reynolds said. “I think Jimmie and I took that to heart.”
Only freshman guard Emmett Blount reached double figures for the Aggies, and all 15 of his points came in the second half.
ENMU plays another crossover game at home on Monday, hosting Southwestern Oklahoma in an 8 p.m. tipoff.
“We’re starting to get our confidence,” Reynolds said. “We focus on consistency in practice. The more consistent you stay, the better chance you have to win.”