LAS VEGAS – Tarleton State’s De’Andre Upchurch tied a career-high with 22 points and Chuck Guy poured in 15 to help guide No. 11 Tarleton State (9-0) to a a 75-71 over Central Washington (4-5) in the South Point Holiday Hops Classic at South Point Arena Saturday.
The Texans shot 41.7 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from downtown and 83.3 percent from the free throw line, while the Wildcats (4-5) managed to shoot just 35.7 percent from the arc and 73.3 percent from the charity stripe.
CWU did outshoot the Texans with a 44.6 percent effort from the field, but Tarleton out-rebounded the Wildcats 36-28. CWU dropped 0-5 when being out-rebounded, and is 4-0 when it wins the battle of the boards.
Neither team managed to score a bucket in the first 1:30-plus to open the game, but CWU finally put the first set of points on a pair of free throws from Joey Roppo with 18:16 on the clock. Tarleton then finally got on the board with a three-pointer from Coleman Furst at the 17:55 mark, and Upchurch followed it up with a three-pointer of his own to give the Texans a 6-2 advantage.
Tarleton pushed its lead to 8-2 on a pair of free throws from Guy at the 16:40 mark before CWU’s Marc Rogers nailed a jumper to make it an 8-4 game in favor of the Texans. Tarleton would then go on a 10-3 run for an 18-7 lead following a pair of free throws from Emmanuel Andrews at the 12:50 mark.
The Texans would later take a 23-10 lead on a 3-pointer and two free throws by Tashawn Mabry.
CWU’s J.B. Pillard poured in a lay-up with a little over 11 minutes left to play in the first half, which sparked a 20-6 run to give CWU its first lead of 30-29 with 2:21 left in the half.
Mabry stopped the run with a pair of free throws, and Upchurch nailed a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to put the Texans up 34-30 with their first field goal in a span of 10 minutes.
CWU scored with 1.2 seconds left to make it 34-32 at halftime.
The Texans came out of the break on fire, scoring eight straight points thanks to a pair of three pointers and a lay-up from Upchurch for a 42-32 lead.
CWU came right back with an 8-0 run of its own though, and cut the Tarleton lead to 42-40 with 14:30 left to play in the game.
Both teams traded buckets over the next few minutes until Michael Hardge came off the bench and hit two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws for a 58-50 Texan lead.
CWU again came back with a 9-1 run to cut Tarleton's lead to 60-59, but Upchurch hit a 3-pointer and Guy sank a fade-away jumper at the four-minute mark to make it 65-59.
The Wildcats trimmed it to 69-65 on a jumper from Mark McLaughlin, but Guy went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe over the final 2:22. His sixth free throw sealed the victory, making it 75-68 with 9.8 seconds left to play.
The Wildcats managed to knock down a 3-pointer as time expired to finish the tally.
McLaughlin led all players with 24 points, but the Wildcats fell to 1-4 this season when he is held below his average of 25.7 entering the game.
The Texans have scored 75 points or more in all nine games this season and have out-rebounded its opposition in all but one contest.
Mabry poured in 11 points off the bench for the Texans, and Damion Clemons pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Guy led the squad with five assists and Andrews snared two steals.
Tarleton faces No. 5 Western Washington in a highly-anticipated showdown to closeout the event at 5 p.m. (CST) today. WWU reached its lofty ranking by edging previous No. 1 Metropolitan State (Colo.) 72-69. Metro State eliminated Tarleton in the NCAA playoffs last season on its way to the national final.