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Hounds survive another nail-biter

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Eastern New Mexico University left for a road trip to Oklahoma with a three-game losing streak, and returned with a pair of one-point wins and a winning record.

Senior Garland Coleman sank the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with eight seconds left as Eastern New Mexico University edged defending NCAA Division II national champion Northeastern State 62-61 on Saturday in a Lone Star Conference men’s crossover game.

Coleman was fouled by NSU’s Derek Cline as he headed upcourt after the Redmen tied the score on a 3-pointer by Darnell Hinson with 11 seconds left. Hinson, who finished with a game-high 28 points, missed a 3-pointer, but got another chance when Northeastern’s Shiloh Shores grabbed the rebound.

Coleman went 9-of-11 from the floor and led the Greyhounds (4-3) with 19 points. He shot 9-of-10 and scored 24 points in Thursday’s 67-66 win at Central Oklahoma and is shooting 73 percent for the season (44-of-60).

Junior Kennis Green added 18 points for Eastern, while junior Jamaal Hunnicutt grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.

“Our guys just played well,” ENMU men’s assistant coach Mark Murdock said. “We didn’t guard the 3-point line that well, but we took everything else away from them.

“We really needed to put 40 solid minutes together. I don’t know if it was 40 minutes, but it was close.”

Hinson had six of NSU’s 10 3-pointers. Guard Derek Cline added four 3-pointers and 14 points for the Redmen (5-4), while forward Midwin Francis chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds.

The game was close the entire way. Eastern erased an early 8-4 deficit with an 8-0 run, but fell behind 21-16 with just under eight minutes left in the half.

The Hounds rallied for a 31-27 lead late in the half. Francis’ desperation 3-pointer in the closing seconds pulled NSU to within a point at the break.

“We got fortunate in that we got Darnell Hinson got in foul trouble,” Murdock said.

The Hounds broke away from a 35-35 tie to lead 47-40 on two free throws by Hunnicutt with 10:44 to go. Northeastern countered with a 10-2 run for a 50-49 advantage and the teams were never separated by more than a point until Coleman got loose for a layup with 39 seconds left, making it 61-58.

“We changed defenses after most timeouts and kept them off-balance all night,” Murdock said. “It was a game as a coach that you really had to manage, and I thought (ENMU head coach) Shawn (Scanlan) did a great job of managing it.”