Sports
Lions hold on for 72-70 win over Central Baptist in home opener
By Texas A&M University-Commerce
Nov 16, 2019
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Commerce, Texas -- The Texas A&M University-Commerce men's basketball team held off a late charge from Central Baptist College on Friday night to earn a 72-70 win in the home opener at the Field House.

The Lions move to 1-2 overall on the season in the first of five straight home games on the schedule. A&M-Commerce will host Hardin-Simmons at 7 p.m. Monday.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

- The Lions shot 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the field, 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from three-point range, and 78.3 percent (18-of-23) from the free throw line.

- Austin Grandstaff (Rockwall) led the Lions with 17 points, connecting on three three-point attempts and going 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.

- Deonta Terrell (Chicago, Ill.) had 15 points, six assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

- Deon Barrett (Lancaster) score 11 points to round out the Lions in double figures.

- Rodney Brown (Beaumont - West Brook) scored five points with four rebounds and tied his career high with four blocked shots.

- Leo Lara (Santa Rosa) connected on three three-pointers and finished with nine points and a team-high 15 rebounds.

HEAD COACH JARET VON ROSENBERG AFTER THE GAME

Overall thoughts on the game: "With a new team that started 0-2, you've just got to find a way to win. It wasn't pretty, but we've just got to put 40 minutes together, and we'll get there. When you look at the defensive performance in the first half, it was pretty incredible. That's how we're trying to play, but we couldn't sustain it. To give up 21 offensive rebounds and still win a game is impressive. We've got to get better and everyone in the locker room know that. They're not satisfied, but you do have to find a way to get a win and we were able to do that tonight."

On conceding 21 offensive rebounds: "I think a lot of those offensive rebounds were not knowing what's going on and watching the ball in flight. I thought our first shot defense was pretty good the whole game. We gave up a couple late on out of bounds under the basket, but it's still early in the season."

On the crowd for the home opener: "We had a great crowd tonight. We really appreciate the university and the community coming out. We've got a few home games coming up, we really need the support, and we'll continue to play better basketball as the year goes on."

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions started off the hotter of the two teams, limiting the Mustangs to one field goal in the first six and a half minutes. Terrell had seven points in the first six minutes of action, including a three-point play which capped a 10-point rally and gave A&M-Commerce a 14-3 lead with 14:22 to play in the first half.

The Mustangs battled back with seven straight points to cut the lead to 14-10, followed by the Lions roaring back with emphatic baskets. Josh Winbush (Lake Charles, La.) and Terrell had monster slams and three-pointers rained in from Barrett, Lara twice, and Grandstaff. A second Winbush slam with just under six minutes to play had the Lions doubled up over the Mustangs, 34-17. CBC then held the Lions without a field goal for the final few minutes, but the hosts carried a 38-27 lead into the dressing room at halftime.

A&M-Commerce pushed the lead back up to 13 points on the opening possession of the second half, but the Mustangs rushed back quickly to cut the margin back into single digits. Inside the first eight minutes of the half, the visitors had managed to slice away at the lead and cut it to four points at 52-48 with just under 12 minutes on the clock.

Grandstaff scored nine of the game's next 11 points over a four-minute span, including a four-point play which gave the Lions a 61-50 advantage with 8:11 on the clock. That lead would expand to as many as 14 points when Terrell made a pair of free throws at the 4:41 mark to make it a 67-55 game.

The Mustangs surged down the stretch, including a six-point trip down the floor, making both three-pointers with a loose ball foul called in the process.

A&M-Commerce pulled out the win with key free throw shooting. In the final three minutes, Grandstaff hit both ends of a 1-and-1 situation, and Barrett made three of his final four free throws to clinch the first win of the year.