Hounds turn back South Dakota Mines

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Senior guard Rodney Blackmon drained a 3-pointer on the game’s first possession, and the long balls just kept coming for Eastern New Mexico University’s men Thursday night.

Senior guard Rafael Love scored 21 points —17 in the second half — and Blackmon finished with 19, including a combined 8-for-13 from 3-point range, as the Greyhounds posted an 86-74 non-conference win over South Dakota School of Mines & Technology at Greyhound Arena.

ENMU (10-8) scored the game’s first five points and never relinquished the lead, although the Hardrockers (6-17) did some pretty fancy shooting of their own to try to stay close. They hit seven of their first eight 3-point attempts before finishing 9-for-17.

Senior forward Phil Henry added 10 points for the Hounds, who resume Lone Star Conference play with a 3 p.m. (MST) contest on Saturday against rival West Texas A&M at Greyhound Arena.

The Rapid City-based Hardrockers (6-17), transitioning to NCAA Division II and scheduled to join the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference next year, lost for the eighth time in nine games. They went 0-5 against LSC teams this season, including two losses to ENMU.

ENMU shot a season-best 61 percent from the field (33-of-54), including 16-of-25 in the second half when it extended its 12-point halftime lead to 18 points on two occasions in the final five minutes.

The Hounds also had a whopping 24 assists, including seven each for Love and senior guard Kyle Lantz.

The Rockers cut an early 13-5 deficit to one with a 7-0 run, but Jordan Romero had a pair of 3-pointers and Lantz added another in a 13-3 spurt the made it 28-15 with less than eight minutes left in the half.

Mines put together another 7-0 surge to pull to 32-27 with just over three minutes left in the half before the Hounds went on an 11-4 run and closed out the half with a 43-31 lead and Romero’s basket as the shot clock expired in the final seconds.

The margin never got under double figures the rest of the way.

Mines put five players in double figures, led by senior guard Lance Kilburn with 16 points. Senior forward Michael Dietz had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Rockers to a 30-21 advantage on the glass.