Hounds snap skid

Greyhound guard Jason Breland throws down a dunk in the second half of Wednesday night’s game against Oklahoma Panhandle State. (Freedom Newspapers: Kevin Wilson)

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — First they had it, then they didn’t.
In the end, though, a 26-8 run over the final 10 minutes was more than enough for Eastern New Mexico University’s men to overhaul Oklahoma Panhandle State 72-61 Wednesday night at Greyhound Arena.

Senior forward Jamaal Hunnicutt led a balanced ENMU attack with 14 points and nine rebounds as the Greyhounds (3-4) ended a three-game losing streak and won for the first time in four home games. Six others contributed at least six points, including guards Jolen Montoya, Billy Austin and Jason Breland with 11 apiece.

Guards Eddie Moss and William Preston provided most of the firepower for the Aggies (2-8) with 25 and 15 points, respectively, going a combined 16-of-26 from the field. Moss, who did not start, had six 3-pointers.

But both cooled off late as the Hounds stormed back.
“The key was defense,” ENMU coach Shawn Scanlan said of the late run. “I thought we locked down pretty well.”

The Hounds shot 48 percent from the field and posted a big advantage at the free throw line, hitting 26-of-30 shots while the Aggies were 5-of-9.

ENMU, which led 43-33 early in the second half, trailed 53-46 after a long 2-pointer by Moss with 10:03 left. But they went in front 64-58 with nine consecutive points, capped by guard Reggie Wallace’s steal and 3-point play and a breakaway dunk by Breland off a Wallace assist on a play which started with a blocked shot by Hunnicutt.

“Right now coach wants my energy coming off the bench,” said Wallace, a juco transfer who sat out last year and has been slowed this season by an ankle injury. “I’m just starting to get my strength back.”

ENMU held the Aggies scoreless over the final four-plus minutes, and hit six consecutive free throws to close out the scoring.

First-year Aggies coach Curt Connor said his team didn’t play well enough to win.

“We had too many unforced turnovers where their defense had to do nothing,” Connor said. “We locked it in for only 20 minutes, and you can’t do that.

“We’re competing against some of the top teams in Division II. We’ve got a young squad, but it’s early in the season and we’ll be there at the end.”

Scanlan said the Hounds were keying on 6-8 junior forward Nick Malinowski from outside, but Malinowski finished 1-for-7 from the field and scored only three points.

“The Moss kid had a heck of a game,” Scanlan said. “He hit some tough shots at times.”

It was a big win for the Hounds, who have four challenging games left in December — including a Dec. 30 contest at New Mexico State — before turning their attention to Lone Star Conference play.

“We know we have a tough schedule, but we can’t worry about other teams,” Wallace said. “We just have to continue to get better as a team.”