TARLETON, Texas — Despite being shorthanded by a combination of injuries and suspensions, Eastern New Mexico University looked early on like it might pull off one of the biggest upsets of the Lone Star Conference season.
But Tarleton State, ranked fifth in the nation, responded with a 41-20 second half and held off the Greyhounds for a 74-69 win Wednesday night.
Tralyn Harden scored a career-high 28 points, including eight 3-pointers for the shorthanded Greyhounds (13-11, 6-9 Lone Star Conference). Harden was one of three starters who played 40 minutes, while guard Devone Davis played 38 minutes and dished out a career-high 12 assists.
Eastern played just seven players, including Texico sophomore Seth Bailey after Curtis Wilkinson, hounded by foul trouble all night, picked up his fifth personal with 5:36 to play and Eastern clinging to a 65-61 lead.
Four Greyhounds were out with injury, and leading scorer Reggie Nelson served the first game of his two-game team suspension. Eastern coach Andrew Helton said Tuesday that Nelson violated team policy, and would not elaborate.
Fabian Wilson scored 26 to lead four in double figures for the Texans (22-3, 13-2), which trailed the upstart Greyhounds 47-28 with 3:36 left to play following the fifth 3-pointer of the half by Harden.
Coleman Furst scored nine points for the Texans, and hit a layup with :36 left to give Tarleton State its first lead of the night at 70-69. The lead would not change hands again, as the Texans went 4-of-4 from the line in the final 10 seconds to improve to 17-1 at home on the season.
The Greyhounds managed just one missed shot, one missed free throw and a turnover in its final two possessions.
Sophomore guard Kyle Lantz scored 15 points for the Greyhounds, while Davis added 11 and Greg McFarland 10 for Eastern. Chris Harrell scored 14 for the Texans, included 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Eastern returns home Saturday to face Texas A&M-Commerce, while the Texans visit West Texas A&M, also on Saturday.