Stephenville – St. Mary’s University rallied from an 11-point second half deficit, but were unable to get over the hump, falling to third-ranked Tarleton State University, 60-58, in non-conference men’s basketball action Tuesday night at Wisdom Gymnasium.
Thanks to a 12-1 run to start the game the Texans held the lead for the first 35:36 of the game. After leading by seven at the half (31-24), TSU increased the lead to 12 on a dunk by Tim Williams with 17:48 left to play. At that point the Rattlers look to be sinking against the third ranked team in the nation (American Basketball Coaches Association). But after TSU increased its lead again to double digits on a Robert Hartfield dunk with 13:03 to play, the Rattlers started the comeback.
After a Jarvis Lee (Sr., Houston) free throw cut the lead to 10, Robert Owens (So., Oakwood) hit a layup off a rebound to cut the lead to eight. Lee then picked up a fast break layup off a steal by Allen Coleman (Jr., Corpus Christi) to cut the lead to just six with 11:59 left to play. TSU increased the lead again back to 10. But then the Rattlers went on a 14-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 53-51.
Lee hit a jumper with 9:54 to play and was followed by Roderick Bellard (So., Beaumont), who hit a jumper of his own to cut the lead again to six. A three-pointer by Lee made it a three-point game and a free throw by Bellard made it a two-point game. Owens completed the comeback with a short jumper to tie things at 51-51. After a turnover by Kenneth Cage gave the ball back to St. Mary’s, Owens gave the Rattlers to lead at 53-51. But the Texans used a 7-0 run to retake the lead at 60-55 and three late points by Owens wasn’t enough to get the Rattlers the win as Lee’s desperation shot at the buzzer was no good.
Lee led the Rattlers in scoring with 15 points, while Owens was the only other Rattler in double figures in scoring with 12 points. As a team St. Mary’s shot 46.0 percent (23-50) from the field, but just 47.4 percent (9-19) from the free throw line. The Rattlers outrebounded TSU by a 39-31 count. St. Mary’s also committed 20 turnovers, compared with 13 for TSU.
Williams led TSU with 15 points, while John Davis had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Kenneth Cage added 11 points. As a team TSU shot just 38.2 percent from the field, but shot seven more free throws and made eight more than the Rattlers, providing the difference in the game.
With the loss the Rattlers fell to 1-2 overall, while TSU improved to 4-0. St. Mary’s will return home for the next 13 games, starting with the St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Classic this Friday against Dillard University at 7:30 p.m. in Bill Greehey Arena.