The WTAMU Buffalo Men’s basketball team hosted the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions on Jan. 16 at the First United Bank Center in Canyon, Texas. The Buffs defense had a strong performance holding the Lions nearly 20 points under their season-average of 77 in a 67-53 win.
Senior Darnell Jackson opened the scoring for WT by hitting a three-pointer, followed by two-consecutive threes by junior Barry Johnson. The Buffs would build on this start to take a 13-8 lead with 14:12 remaining in the first half. WT would score 17 points to TAMUC’s 16 for the rest of the half to go into the break with a 30-24 lead.
“In practice, we’ve been working on defense, defense, defense,” Jackson said. “That showed on the court tonight.”
Jackson and Johnson led the Buffs offense at the half scoring nine points each. Senior Donald Sims followed up with six points of his own. WT was 12 for 22 for 54.5 percent from the field and four of seven for 57 percent from downtown at halftime.
The Buffs would come out on a 24-11 run to take a 53-35 lead with 7:52 left in the second half. The Lions would battle back and cut their deficit down to 59-51 with around three minutes to go in the game. However, WT would finish the half outscoring Commerce 8-2 to earn the win and end a two-game losing streak.
“I thought we played pretty hard, but we had some breakdowns in the last four minutes that should not have happened,” Head Coach Rick Cooper said.
Jackson led the Buffs in scoring with a career-high 16 points. Sims finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Johnson had 11 points on the night. WT was 24 of 56 from the floor for 43 percent and six of 13 for 46 percent from beyond the arch.
The Buffs now stand at 11-4 overall with a 3-4 mark in Lone Star Conference play. WT will return to action when they travel to Tarleton State on Jan. 19. Tip is set for 7 p.m.