Lions scorch nets in the second half to down Mustangs

Texas A&M-Commerce men’s basketball scored 14 consecutive points in the second half to break open a close contest and cruise to a 73-48 victory over Midwestern State on Thursday.

The Lions made 17 of 25 shots from the floor in the second half, including 8 of 13 from 3-point range, to take control of the game after trailing by four points early in the second half.

“We’re our best basketball team when we’re playing well on the defensive side of the floor,” Texas A&M-Commerce coach Jaret von Rosenberg said on KETR 88.9 FM. “When we had missed assignments in the first half, they made us pay, and the scoreboard flipped pretty quickly when everything we look at goes in the basket.”

“The second half was a reflection of our defense,” MSU coach Justin Leslie said on the Lone Star Conference Digital Network. “Defensively, we were completely broken – making uncharacteristic mistakes that allowed them to score easy. Your offense and your defense need to work in concert, and our defensive breakdowns allowed them to get momentum and energy, and they defended a lot harder, which put more pressure on our offense.”

JJ Romer Rosario was a sniper beyond the arc, hitting five of his six attempts from the 3-point line in the game to finish with 15 points.

“It’s great to see him have productive minutes. He’s finally starting to look healthy, and he had a couple of great days of practice,” von Rosenberg said. “Clashon (Gaffney) got in foul trouble in the first half, and we went to (Romer Rosario), and he looked comfortable, and he was locked in tonight.”

For MSU, second-half shooting struggles have become all too familiar for the short-handed Mustangs, who only made 2 of 24 shots from 3-point range in the second half.

“We have to develop some resolve,” Leslie said. “We have to develop some toughness and some resilience from possession to possession and from day to day. That’s an area we have to grow and mature, and that’s what we need to focus on.”

MSU will open its conference schedule against the Lions on New Year’s Eve, with the game scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. in Commerce.

Texas A&M-Commerce 73, Midwestern State 48

TEXAS A&M-COMMERCE (7-1)

Carson Tuttle 5-8 0-0 12; Demarcus Demonia 1-4 0-0 2; Augustine Ene 4-10 0-0 10; Alphonso Willis 8-13 0-0 16; Clashon Gaffney 0-1 0-0 0; JJ Romer Rosario 5-6 0-0 15; Monyae Davis 0-1 0-2 0; Carius Key 1-1 0-0 3; Jairus Roberson 3-7 0-0 9; Khaliq Abdul-Mateen 1-2 0-2 2; Alex Peavy 1-2 0-0 2; Rodney Brown 0-1 2-2 2; Emmanuel Adeoye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-56 2-6 73.

MIDWESTERN STATE (4-7)

Jordan Teal 7-14 1-5 15; Jalin Brown 0-5 0-2 0; Jamey Sanders 3-5 0-0 9; Terrell Wilson 3-12 2-3 10; Jermane Carter 2-10 2-2 8; Jace Johnson 0-0 0-0 0; Drake Dusek 1-4 0-0 3; Amaechi Chukwu 0-1 2-2 2; Travis Massey 0-3 0-0 0; John Weger 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 16-57 7-11 48.Halftime score — MSU 31, TAMUC 29. 3-Point Goals — TAMUC 13-27 (Tuttle 2-3, Demonia 0-2, Ene 2-6, Willis 0-3, Romer Rosario 5-6, Key 1-1, Roberson 3-5, Abdul-Mateen 0-1); MSU 9-38 (Teal 1-5, Sanders 3-5, Wilson 2-10, Carter 2-9, Dusek 1-4, Chukwu 0-1, Massey 0-3, Weger 0-1). Fouled Out — TAMUC (None); MSU (None). Rebounds — TAMUC 32 (Willis 7); MSU 42 (Brown 10). Assists — TAMUC 17 (Willis 4); MSU 9 (Weger 3). Total Fouls — TAMUC 13, MSU 13. Technicals — Visitor (None); MSU (None). A — 821.