By BRAD KEITH
Tarleton State (21-5, 9-2) shot an impressive 55.8 percent from the field and completed a season sweep of Texas A&M-Kingsville with a 78-59 win at Wisdom Gym Saturday night.
The Texans are now one win away from at least a share of the Lone Star Conference South Division championship. They are currently tied with Midwestern State and 1.5 games ahead of Angelo State, which hosts Tarleton in next Saturday's regular season finale.
"We worked hard all year to get to this point and tonight was a great way to finish our home schedule," Tarleton head coach Lonn Reisman said. "We only lost once here all year in front of our home crowd and it was a good feeling to come out and play well tonight on senior night."
Devon Hills paved the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double at Tarleton.
Seniors Effran Bryant and Jeremiah Wilson both had big nights in their final home game. Bryant hit four 3-point field goals and scored 16 while dishing out five assists. Wilson scored 14 points and collected six boards.
Corin Henry was also in double figures with 12 despite sitting out the final eight minutes.
Tarleton never trailed after a 9-0 run gave the Texans a 21-13 lead with 7:40 remaining in the opening half. The rest of the half was back-and-forth and Tarleton led 40-30 at the break.
The first two offensive possessions of the second half for Tarleton ended in 3-point field goals by Wilson and Bryant, stretching the advantage to 16.
The Texans were 9-18 (50 percent) from the arc for the night.
TAMUK pulled within 12 on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Antwan Mullins with 12:25 still to go, but the Texans scored the next 12 to move ahead 65-41 with just less than eight minutes left.
Bryant's final 3-ball at Wisdom Gym ended the run. As the team's only four-year letterman, he later checked out to a standing ovation.
"This was really a big night for me and a big night for our team. The emotions were flying for sure," Bryant said. "It was a perfect night."
The Texans out-rebounded the Javs 39-23 and outscored them 32-22 in the paint and 22-4 in second-chance points. Those stats were more than enough to overcome a poor performance at the charity stripe, where Tarleton was 11-27 (40.7 percent).
Bryant said the Texans must now focus only on Angelo State and not worry about the South standings or the South Central Region rankings, in which they are currently fifth.
"We just have to stay focused and not worry about anything but Angelo," Bryant said.