ABILENE, Texas – The McMurry University men’s basketball team suffered another hard-luck defeat, this time versus Heartland Conference co-leader Texas A&M International University, 83-79, at Kimbrell Arena.
The War Hawks fell to 11-14 overall and 6-10 in the Heartland. Conversely, the Dustdevils improved to 20-7 on the year and are now 13-4 against the rest of the league.
While McM has lost four of its last five games, each of those results could have easily been reversed. In the quartet of defeats, the War Hawks lost games by five, four, two (twice) and one point.
McMurry came out strong against TAMIU, a team which just six weeks ago dominated the War Hawks in Laredo (85-60), leading at the half by six, 48-42. Brandon Golden scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the opening stanza.
Seniors Alfred Perez and Kourtney Goff – both playing their final games at Kimbrell Arena – also were on fire at the outset. Perez registered nine of his 13 points on the day in the opening stanza, while Goff booked 12 of his eventual 17 points in the first 20 minute segment.
But the Dustdevils showed why they are among the Heartland’s elite teams, battling back in the second half to out-score McMurry, 41-31, in the period to secure the win.
Junior Connor Robinson, McMurry’s only other player to score in double figures, was the only War Hawk to put in more than one field goal in the second half of play. Robinson scored five baskets, along with a free throw, to score 11 of his 13 points in the final 20 minutes.
Despite a somewhat cold-shooting second half, McM still managed to keep TAMIU at bay until 3:21 remaining in the game, when the visitors took the lead (74-73) for the first time since the 5:07 mark of the first half. Robinson’s layup briefly put McMurry back on top, 75-74, with 3:06 left.
However, the Dustdevils out-dueled McM down the stretch, 9-4, on their way to the 83-79 final score.