A team scoring 36 points in the second half of a men’s college basketball game is hardly something worth stopping the presses over.
But when the same team scored just 12 points in the first half, a 36-point second half seems like an explosion.
Tarleton State (6-2) did just that in Lone Star Conference crossover play at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant, Okla. Monday night, “exploding” for 36 second half points to overcome a 21-12 halftime deficit in a 48-43 win against Southeastern Oklahoma State (3-6).
The Texans trailed by as many as 10 early in the second frame, but rallied back thanks to a strong defensive effort and a 10-11 performance at the free throw line by standout guard Corin Henry.
Henry was just 3-13 from the floor, but was 90.1 percent from the charity stripe in reaching double figures for the fifth time this season. He also collected six rebounds and five steals while dishing out four assists.
Devon Hills was also in double figures with 13 points. Hills wasn’t exactly red-hot at 4-9 from the floor, but that was the second best percentage of any Tarleton player as the team hit just 26.4 percent of its shots.
Tarleton head coach Lonn Reisman said he can’t remember ever winning a game with such a low field goal percentage. The Texans shot especially poor in the first half, going just 4-28 (14.3 percent). They were much improved in the last 20 minutes, hitting 10-25 (40 percent).
Tarleton never got it going from downtown, hitting just 1-13 (7.7 percent) in the first half and 2-7 (28.6 percent) in the second for a total of 15 percent.
“That was about as ugly as any game I’ve ever seen,” Reisman said. “I thought we executed our offense (in the first half), we just couldn’t hit any shots and we couldn’t get any rebounds. I felt like we were stuck in quick sand out there. Thank goodness we played much better in the second half.”
Reisman was pleased with his team’s defense the entire night.
“Any time you only give up 43 points you should win,” he said. “Our defense is going to have to carry us until our offense comes around, and it will.”
Southeastern was led in scoring by John Allison with 11 points. The Savage Storm shot almost as poorly as the Texans, hitting just 14-45 (31.1 percent) from the floor. SOSU was also plagued by turnovers, giving the ball away 18 times compared to just 10 giveaways by Tarleton.
The Savage Storm led 27-17 with just under 16 minutes remaining, but Tarleton responded with a 12-3 run to pull within one.
Southeastern immediately pushed the advantage back to four when it was 35-31 with 8:37 left, but the Texans surged again, this time using an 11-1 push to take a 42-36 lead when Hills drilled a three-point bomb with 2:03 to play. The trey followed a pair of free throws and a jumper all by Henry to take the lead.
Henry knocked down six straight free throws in the final 53 seconds and Tarleton held on for its second win over Southeastern in the young season. The Texans had previously defeated the Savage Storm 54-43 in the Texan Tip off Classic at Wisdom Gym on Nov. 21.
Tarleton returns home for a Saturday LSC crossover battle against Southwestern Oklahoma State. Game times have been pushed up one hour, with the women tipping off the double header at 5 p.m., followed by the men at 7 p.m.