ALLEN - No. 5 Tarleton State (25-2), the top seed in the Lone Star Conference Basketball Championship, will have a chance to avenge one of its two regular-season losses Friday night.
The Texans face fourth-seeded Texas A&M-Commerce at 8:30 p.m. at Allen Event Center after the Lions took their only lead of the second half on a pair of Tyrie Wooten free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining, and held on to win 74-73 over fifth-seeded Eastern New Mexico in the last quarterfinal game Thursday night at Allen Event Center.
Eastern New Mexico had a chance with Rodney Blackmon driving coast-to-coast, but the point guard missed a runner and A&M-Commerce's Christian Macauley secured the rebound just before the buzzer sounded.
Tarleton was awaiting its semifinal foe since racing past West Texas A&M 89-70 on Wednesday night.
A&M-Commerce edged Tarleton 79-76 in Commerce last Saturday. The Texans were 5-25 shooting in the first half, before hitting eight of their first 11 in the second to turn a 37-26 halftime deficit into a 56-48 lead with 11:40 to play.
But the Lions scored the game's final seven points, including four from the foul stripe, and Emmanuel Andrews missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Tarleton.
LaDon Carnegie had 34 against the Texans. He had just nine and fouled out with more than eight minutes left against Eastern New Mexico. The Lions were led by Wooten with 16 points, Kameron Price with 13 and Daniel Ehambe with 11.
Tarleton picked up 24 points from Tashawn Mabry on 9-11 shooting off the bench, 22 from De'Andre Upchurch and 16 along with seven assists from Chuck Guy against West Texas A&M.
Tarleton will be trying to reach the championship game of the tournament for the fifth straight year. The Texans lost three straight before beating Midwestern State 53-50 for their second LSC tourney title last season.
Second-seeded Midwestern takes on third-seeded Angelo State in the other semifinal at 2:30 p.m. Friday. MSU defeated seventh-seeded Texas A&M-Kingsville 77-61 and ASU beat sixth-seeded Cameron 64-59 in the quarterfinals.
The championship is set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.