LAREDO, Texas (Feb. 21, 2013) – Johnel Gray went 5-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 20 points and Texas A&M International went 8-of-12 from behind the arc en route to a 69-62 win over visiting Oklahoma Christian on Thursday night.
TAMIU (14-10) opened the second half on an 8-2 run to take the lead and never trailed again as OC (15-9) lost its third straight road game against a Heartland Conference foe. TAMIU has lost only one home game this season in conference play.
Will Reinke had 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots and Kendre Talley had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for OC, but the other six Eagles who saw action combined for only 25 points.
“They shot it extremely well from three,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “That was pretty much the difference. We just started the second half by spotting them the lead and we played uphill. Every time we needed something big we didn’t get it.”
After the Dustdevils took an early 12-8 lead, Talley hit two 3-pointers during an 8-2 run that gave OC a 16-12 lead. The Eagles led by as many as six points before settling for a 31-30 halftime lead.
Jordan Clark hit two free throws with 18:21 left to put TAMIU up 32-31 and Gray hit three 3-pointers in the first 7½ minutes of the second half as the Dustdevils extended their lead to 49-41.
OC pulled as close as 54-51 after a baseline jumper by Eric Randall with 7:40 left, but Nick Tate missed a pair of free throws a minute later and TAMIU scored seven of the next eight points to rebuild its lead to 61-52.
The Dustdevils went 6-of-8 from the free-throw line in the final 53 seconds to seal the win. They finished 19-of-23 from the line (82.6 percent).
Damal Donaldson added 13 points for TAMIU and Matthew Culliver Jr. had 12.
“We didn’t play poorly,” Hays said. “They just played better. We just didn’t play as good as we needed to, coming all this way. It’s not the time of year to get down on ourselves, though. We just have to fight back and be ready for Saturday against St. Mary’s.”