In the words of Tarleton State head coach Lonn Reisman, “something magical happened in Wisdom Gym (Saturday night).”
Down 15 points to a tenacious Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds team with 13 minutes left, the Texans went on a miraculous run fueled by defense, desire and a little bit of Wisdom Gym magic.
From that point on, the Texans outscored their opponents 40-20 and pulled away to a heart-stopping 77-72 win — their 33rd straight at home.
“We needed a game like this … to believe in ourselves,” Reisman said, adding that his team is filled with “a bunch of guys that will never fold.”
They were led by star senior forward John Davis, who had a monster game — 32 points and 15 rebounds, both game highs.
At times, Davis seemed to will his teammates to victory, his body language sending a clear message to all watching — this streak will not go down without a fight to the finish.
But the game was for another player, Reisman said: junior Kenneth Cage, who went down with another painful knee injury during Tarleton’s ferocious comeback.
“This game is pretty much dedicated to Kenneth Cage,” Reisman said.
After the injury, with five and a half minutes and seven points to go, Reisman told his team they owed Cage the sort of effort the junior exuded.
“He deserves for you to play as hard as he was trying to play on that (injured) leg,” Reisman said.
Jeremy Gilbert had 13 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers that cut the Greyhound lead to four, 59-55.
Davis had a layup that made it a two-point game, but the Greyhounds sank two free throws. Davis matched those foul shots, then had a putback to tie the game at 61. Fouled on the score, Davis completed the three-point play, and gave Tarleton the lead they had been after since the 13-minute mark of the first half.
Mike Daniels finished with 12 points, and Terrence Gamble had nine rebounds.