CANYON - Head coach Lonn Reisman said in his postgame interview on the Tarleton Sports Network Thursday night, "We really needed this one and probably no one thought we could come in here and do it, but those kids thought we could do it. That's all that matters."
What did the kids do? Only upset the No. 7 team in the nation on their home court, snap their 29-game home winning streak, shoot 57-percent from the floor, and hold their opponents to just 37-percent.
"Wow," said head coach Lonn Reisman. "I thought we improved in practice the last couple of days. We put our new motion offense in that we ran a lot last year but haven't run it hardly at all this year. We saw some things that we tweaked in it and I thought our kids were really getting shots out of it tonight.
"I can't say enough about how hard they played," he continued. "I've won a lot of games at West Texas, well not a lot, I've won some games at West Texas but this is probably one of the sweetest."
Tarleton improved to 10-7 on the season and 5-3 in Lone Star Conference play with an 82-74 win over No. 7 West Texas A&M at the First United Bank Center in Canyon Thursday night. The loss moved WT to 16-2 overall and 6-2 in league play. It's also the Buffs' first loss at home since Jan. 6, 2016 against then-No. 6 Midwestern State.
Led by 23 points from Deshawn Riddick, the Texans shot .574 from the field on 31-54 shooting, including .545 from beyond the arc on 12-22. Tarleton had five players top double figures, including four of the five starters: Riddick (23), Corinthian Ramsey (18), Jaraan Lands (12), and Josh Hawley (10), who also had 10 rebounds despite playing only 26 minutes due to foul trouble.
The Texans also got a big lift off the bench as Preston Enloescored a career high 16 points on 6-9 shooting from the floor, including 4-7 from downtown. Sam Marshall (2) and Jesse Hill (1) rounded out the scoring while Anthony Davis and Nosa Ebomwonyi provided big minutes off the bench as well.
"(Riddick) is just playing great and I thought Corinthian Ramseyplayed really well tonight," said Reisman. "He hit some big shots and he's learning what we want. Everyone who played tonightcontributed to the win."
Defensively, Tarleton held West Texas A&M to its second lowest shooting performance of the year from the floor at .370 and All-American David Chavlovich to his second-lowest shooting performance of the season (.211). In the second half alone, the Texans held West Texas A&M to .325 shooting from the field and .105 from downtown.
"We mixed our defense between zone and man," said Reisman. "I thought our kids did a really good job of following the game plan. They fought so hard and closed the game out. A few times this year, we haven't been able to finish. It's also great to watch our young kids grow."
The game started out in a tight one as neither team pulled away by more than a bucket, but WT opened things up by as many as 11 points at 33-22 with 5:20 left in the opening half. A three-ball from Ramsey put a stop to the Buff run and started one for the Texans as Tarleton spent the final five minutes on a 14-5 run to pull within two points at halftime.
The Buffs extended their lead to eight over the first five minutes of the new half, but Tarleton answered with three unanswered three-pointers - two by Riddick and one from Enloe - to turn its eight-point deficit into their first lead of the half at 45-44.
The lead changed seven times over the next six minutes, but a triple from Riddick at 6:16 gave the Texans the last lead change of the night at 60-57. After a miss on the WT end, Jaraan Landspushed the lead to five with a layup. Tarleton never led by less than two the rest of the way and pushed its lead to as many as eight, including the final score.
It's Tarleton's first win in Canyon since Feb. 18, 2015 and the first time in school history the TexAnn and Texan Basketball teams defeated WT on the road in the same night. Tarleton's women's team also upset No. 8 WT earlier in the night.
Tarleton will return to action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Odessa to take on No. 11 UT Permian Basin.