ALPINE, Texas - Leading for most of the first half, East Texas Baptist University saw their lead taken away by Sul Ross State University (7-8/6-6 ASC) at the half and they never recovered falling in Alpine, 79-75. ETBU had a 13-point lead in the first half and was up by 10 with 8:34 before Sul Ross State finished on a 21-8 run for a three-point lead, 34-31, at the half. ETBU is now 5-9 and 3-8 in the American Southwest Conference.
Jamil Samuel led with 15 points and four blocks for ETBU. C.J. Jones added 13 points while Erby Thompson had 11 points and a career-high nine rebounds. SRSU’s Percy Settle led all scorers with 25 points.
The difference in the game came in the middle of the first half after ETBU had a 13-point lead. ETBU built up the lead to 13, 18-5, in the first seven minutes of the game. Justin Felicia hit two free throws at the 12:21 mark to put the lead at 13. SRSU had only two buckets made in that time and didn’t break the double-digit mark until the 9:35 mark. That bucket cut ETBU’s lead to nine, 20-11, but Kerry McClahan made it an 11-point lead on a lay up with 9:21 left in the half.
At the 8:34 mark, Arron Holmes hit one-of-two free throws to put the lead back at 10, 23-13. That was the last point made by ETBU for three and half minutes as SRSU cut the lead to five. Samuel put the lead back at seven, 25-18, at the 5:07 mark only to see SRSU tie the game at 30 with 2:02 left. SRSU went on a 12-5 run in that time with ETBU’s only bucket a Jones three-pointer.
Jones made one free throw with a minute left in the half for a 31-30 lead but SRSU finished out on a 4-0 run for the three-point lead at the half, 34-31.
SRSU started the second half on a 9-4 run to improve their lead to eight, 43-35, but ETBU battled back to within three, 43-40, on a J.D. Richardson lay up. By the 11:26 mark, SRSU had their lead back up to nine, 53-44, and a 14-point lead with 6:26 left in the game, 68-54.
In the next five and half minutes, ETBU went on a 14-5 run to make it a game down five points, 73-68, with 50 seconds left. With 20 seconds left, Eric Horton’s three-pointer brought the lead down to three, 76-73, but that is as close as ETBU would come.
ETBU shot 36 percent from the floor, 32 percent from the arc, and 82 percent from the line while SRSU shot 43 percent from the floor, 33 percent from the three-point line, and 62 percent the foul line. ETBU out rebounded SRSU, 46-41, but had 16 turnovers.
ETBU travels to Mississippi College on Thursday for another ASC match up.