Hounds upset No. 16 Incarnate Word

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks ENMU guard Versia Hodges is fouled by Incarnate Word’s Chris Johnson in the first half of Saturday’s game at Greyhound Arena. Hodges made the shot and subsequent free throw.

By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico correspondent

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University senior Victor Reid came off the bench to score 16 points and grab six rebounds as the Greyhounds upset 16th-ranked Incarnate Word 84-62 in a Lone Star Conference South contest Saturday at Greyhound Arena.

In a game originally scheduled for Wednesday, the Hounds seemed to have benefited from the extra three days rest.

ENMU (9-10, 4-3 LSC South) grabbed a lead early in the first half and never gave it up. The Hounds appeared loose and shot 54 percent from the floor.

“We shot the ball pretty well tonight,” said ENMU coach Andrew Helton. “Stefan (Mirabal) gave us a good lift early then we had some other guys come on later.”

Mirabal, a junior guard from Albuquerque, gave ENMU the early lead penetrating the lane, then moments later he made it 15-12 with a trey. With two field goals from Reid and another layup and 3-pointer from Mirabal, the Hounds had a 27-18 advantage with 10:15 left in the half.

“We were feeling pretty good going in tonight,” said Mirabal. “And anytime you can beat the No. 9 (sic) team in the nation you feel good coming out. That extra three days to prepare really helped us out.”

Mirabal gave credit to his big men inside and his team’s zone defense for the victory. Helton echoed that declaration with the exception of defensive rebounds. The stat sheet showed that ENMU was only out-rebounded by one total rebound, however.

The Cardinals (15-4, 4-3) had a horrible night at the line making just 41 percent. The story from beyond the 3-point arc was even worse at 8 percent.

“The key tonight was executing and playing together,” said ENMU senior forward Tyler Jefferson, who scored 11 points. “We played well as a team.”

That well-rounded effort extended to junior Max Carrier with 13 points, Mirabal with 12, and junior Aaron Edwards with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.

UIW was led by Kelcey Solomon with 14 points, Chris Johnson with 12 and Eric Stewart with 11. The Hounds held Cardinal’s leading scorer, Tracy Robinson to just six points on the night.

Helton said he hopes the win will kick off a home win streak, which ENMU hasn’t enjoyed this year.

“We’ve got to play well at home,” Helton said. “Wednesday night we’ll face Midwestern, which was picked to win the conference. We need a huge crowd here, we need to fill up the arena and play well.”

The Hounds host Midwestern State Wednesday in an 8 p.m. start. The road game with UIW that should have been played Saturday is rescheduled for Feb. 21.