The last time Tarleton State was 10-0 in men's basketball, it was a junior college known as John Tarleton Agricultural College. Its mascot was the Plowboys, WJ Wisdom was head coach and the Great Depression had yet to sweep the country.
But the Texans will feel no depression this Christmas after winning their 10th straight game to start a season for the first time in 52 years as a senior college.
No. 11 Tarleton thumped No. 5 Western Washington 86-69 in the final game of the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic at South Point Casino in Las Vegas Sunday evening, improving on its best start under 26th-year head coach Lonn Reisman.
It was the Texans' first victory over an opponent ranked in the top five since defeating No. 3 Texas A&M-Commerce 75-70 on March 15, 2005 in the South Central Regional final. Their last victory over a top 10 foe was a 79-75 upset at No. 10 Midwestern State on Jan. 26, 2012.
Davene Carter scored 20 and Chuck Guy 19 for the Texans. Emmanuel Andrews scored 18, Mohammed Lee 12 and Tashawn Mabry nine off the Tarleton bench, which outscored Western Washington's 42-13.
The Texans knocked down 49 percent of their shots from the floor and were 30-37 from the free-throw stripe. Guy was 13-13 at the line and also dealt five assists while committing just two turnovers in 31 minutes at point guard. Carter was 9-12 from the floor while collecting seven rebounds and two blocks. Reigning Lone Star Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jon Cathey-Macklin and forward Damion Clemons also had two blocks each.
Tarletonlimited Western Washington to 40 percent from the floor. The Texans have shot a higher percentage than their opponents in nine of 10 games. WWU was 25-32 at the line, as the teams combined for 53 fouls and 67 free throw attempts.
The Texans held the Vikings to 25 points below their season average of 94.6 entering the game. Robert Harris led WWU with 17 points. Austin Bragg scored 12 and Richard Woodworth 11.
The Texans outscored the Vikings 37-18 after the game was tied at 49 with 14:30 to play.
Lee scored five straight to put Tarleton on top for good. After a Carter dunk, Lee hit a pair of free throws, giving him seven points in a 9-1 run. Tarleton was up 58-51 with 11:29 left.
Andrews drained a triple to give Tarleton the game's first double-digit lead of 69-59 with 7:22 remaining, and the Texans were up by at least eight the rest of the way.
Guy hit four straight free throws, Carter and Andrews combined for four more, then Lee hit a pair to make it 83-67 with 55 seconds left, and the Texans emptied the bench.
The win was Tarleton's second in two days at the classic. The Texans tripped up Central Washington 75-71 on Saturday. They have scored at least 75 points every game this season, and have won eight of 10 by double digits.
Tarleton, which entered the classic leading the nation in margin of victory, scoring defense and field goal percentage defense, has completed the 2013 side of its schedule. The Texans host South Dakota Mines on Jan. 4, then open LSC play against 22nd-ranked Angelo State on Jan. 8, both at Wisdom Gym.