Texans force school-record 41 turnovers in rout over SWAU
STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton men's basketball had one of its more lopsided victories in its storied history on Saturday with a 97-26 rout over Southwestern Adventist in Wisdom Gym.
The Texans forced a school-record 41 turnovers, including 25 in the first half, as eight players had at least two steals. Tahj Small put up one of the more staggering statistical lines in Texan history as he flirted with a quadruple-double, posting 15 points, 8 rebounds, 8 steals and 7 assists in just 18 minutes of play. Small's eight steals are tied for third most in a game in school history and trail only Chris Brown (10 steals, 1995) and Ryan Huntley (9 steals, 1998).
Tarleton has won back-to-back games for the first time this season and improves to 5-8 overall. The 26 points allowed are the fewest since the Texans held Dallas Christian to a school-record-low 19 points in a 94-19 victory in 2007.
The Texans jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first six minutes of the game and never let up, growing the advantage by 10 points at almost every media timeout of the game. Heri Ngalamulume took advantage of the size difference against the Knights, as the 6-foot-9 forward had 10 points at halftime and finished the game with a career-high 20 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Ngalamulume's presence in the paint helped the Texans outscored the Knights 72-12 in the paint.
Leading 35-14 with 3:06 remaining in the half, the Texans went on a 15-0 run to close the half with Small scoring eight points during the stretch. Tarleton led Southwestern Adventist 50-14 at the break.
In the second half, coach Billy Gillispie emptied his bench for much of the minutes with the Texans posting a season-high 61 points off the bench. Caleb Starks scored a career-high 10 points as the LSU transfer added four rebounds and three assists in a season-high 19 minutes. Starks was one of four Texans to score in double figures, as Freddy Hicks tallied 15 points, five rebounds and three steals. Joey Madimba and Cadarius Baggett each scored seven points with two steals and Javontae Hopkins added a pair of points.
The Texans had scoring runs of 11-0, 12-2 and 18-0 in the second half to post its third 40-point win of the season and the 71-point win is largest margin of victory on the year. The 41 steals top the previous school record, which was set earlier this season against Dallas Christian. The Texans went on to shoot 55% from the floor and held the Knights to 30%.
Caleb Golden made his first-career start for the Texans, as the true freshman scored eight points, along with four rebounds, three assists and a career-high five steals in 17 minutes. Shakur Daniel matched Golden with eight points and recorded four rebounds and four assists. Jonathan Jackson Jr. scored five points in a starting role.
Tarleton hosted another non-conference opponent on Tuesday as the Texans took on McMurry at in Wisdom Gym.