Buffs thump ENMU

ENMU’s Rece Hampton is trapped along the baseline by West Texas A&M’s Chris Hinz, left, and Kevin Green in Monday night’s Lone Star Conference South Division men’s game at Greyhound Arena. (Freedom Newspapers: Karl Terry)

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

PORTALES — West Texas A&M’s men never gave Eastern New Mexico University a chance Monday night.

Senior guard Damien Lolar and junior forward Chris Hinz combined for 56 points on 22-of-27 shooting — 9-of-9 for Hinz — and the Buffaloes dominated start to finish in an 87-72 Lone Star Conference South Division rout at Greyhound Arena.

Lolar, the LSC’s leading scorer at 24.1 per game coming in, finished with 32 points on 13-of-18 shooting while Hinz, averaging 9.8, added 24 and went 9-of-9 from the field. They combined to go 15-of-17 in the second half when WT (11-8, 3-2 South) scored 53 points on 69 percent shooting (20-of-29).

Lolar also had six rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Junior forward Tyler Cooper finished with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

“He’s a really good player,” said ENMU junior guard Justin Redman-Trotter, who matched his season best set on Saturday night at Tarleton State with 20 points. “He had a good night. He got his shots when he wanted to.”

Mikal Monette added 16 points and Tristan Largent 11 for the Greyhounds (9-10, 3-2), who fell out of the division lead. ENMU shot just 38 percent from the field.

“They imposed their will on us from the start,” Hounds coach Shawn Scanlan said. “The game was played on their terms for 40 minutes.

“We didn’t play very good tonight, but West Texas made us play bad.”

The Buffaloes led all the way except for a 2-2 tie. ENMU pared a 13-point deficit to 34-26 at halftime by holding WT to three points over the final 4 1/2 minutes.

The Hounds closed to 36-30 early in the second half on two baskets by Monette, but Lolar drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down and then set up Cooper and Pierre Barlow for consecutive treys that made it 45-32 with 17 minutes left. The margin was never under 10 the rest of the way.

“We just came out slow; we didn’t come out with the attitude that we wanted to play,” said Redman-Trotter, who also had seven rebounds and three assists. “We played well in spurts, but sometimes we broke down.”

Scanlan said Lolar was the main difference in the game.

“He played like an All-American,” he said. “We didn’t have an answer for him tonight.”

WT coach Rick Cooper said the Buffs were able to maintain a high level of play throughout much of the game.

“I thought we did a good job of playing it possession by possession, and we did a good job of holding them off,” Cooper said. “It was a hard-fought game. We probably did a pretty good job defensively for a high percentage of the game, and we hit some big shots.”