The McMurry University men's basketball team pushed their winning streak to five straight to start the season as they defeated Texas A&M-Kingsville, 61-46, on Saturday at the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach Thanksgiving Classic hosted by TAMUK.
The War Hawks (5-0) opened the game on a steal and breakaway dunk by Takoby Jackson that sparked an 8-0 run. Not to be outdone on their home floor, however, the Javelinas (4-2) also used a dunk to kick start an 8-0 run that spanned 2:30 to tie the game at 8-8 with 14:22 remaining in the half. The two teams would then trade pairs of free throws to tie the game at 10-10. That, however, would prove to be the last tie of the night.
With 11:22 left in the half, Kenny Williams notched a layup to untie the game. Two minutes later, Williams was fouled on a three-point attempt and calmly sank all three free-throws to put McMurry up, 15-10. After three more made free-throws, a jumper by Kaylim Noel capped off a 10-0 run to put McM up, 20-10, with 8:05 remaining.
The War Hawks would use solid free-throw shooting the rest of the half to expand their lead to 15, 24-19, at the break. The score marked the third time in five games that McMurry has held its opponents under 20 points in the first half.
The second half opened with a free-throw from McMurry's Connor Robinson, but then the Javelinas went on a 9-0 run that included back-to-back three pointers by Jamahl Brown, to cut the McM lead to just seven, 35-28, with 16:21 remaining in the game.
After a three-pointer by Williams expanded the lead back to double digits at the 15:59 mark, another small run by TAMUK, finished off by a layup from Brown, pulled the Javelinas to within six.
The two programs would continue to trade baskets over the next eight minutes, with the McMurry lead hovering right around 10 points. However, it was a Conner Robinson layup with 2:55 remaining in the game that put McM up by double digits for good, and the War Hawks won by 15, 61-46.
For the third time this season, McMurry was led offensively by Williams, who tallied his first double-double as a War Hawk, totaling 19 points and 10 rebounds. Antonio Bell reached double-figures for the fifth time this year, scoring 13, which included going 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. DJ Stennis added seven points, and Jackson finished with six.
Defensively, McM held Texas A&M – Kingsville to just 28 percent shooting in the first half, and 32 percent for the game. For the first time this season, the McMurry defense held its opponent without a double-digit scorer as Rashad Basey and Jamahl Brown each finished with nine for TAMUK.
As a team, the War Hawks out-rebounded TAMUK, 42-24, and forced 11 turnovers. The team also shot 83 percent (26-of-31) from the free throw line.
McMurry will be back in action on Thursday, November 29, when they travel to Wichita, Kansas to take on Newman University. Tip-off is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.
Information provided by McMurry athletics department.