The win gives the Lions (18-8, 7-7 LSC) its first four-game win streak to close out the regular season since the 2004-05 campaign, and snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Texans (24-2, 12-2 LSC).
It also secures the No. 4 overall seed in the upcoming Lone Star Conference Tournament for the Lions, who will open up the event against No. 5 Eastern New Mexico on Thursday, March 6 at 8:30 p.m.
LaDon Carnegie was the go-to hand for A&M-Commerce throughout the night, going for 34 points and nine rebounds on the night. The junior hit 10 of his 17 field goal tries, and 10 of 12 from the foul line, including four of the Lions’ 10 three-point buckets on the night.
But once again it was Tyrie Wooten who hit the go-ahead free throws with under 33 seconds to play, followed by a pair from Devondrick Walker with just 9.2 seconds left to go up by three after a defensive stop. Emmanuel Andrews got of one final three-point try for the Texans that misfired off the back rim as time expired.
Walker was the only other Lion in double figures on the night, hitting for 16 points, hitting four threes of his own. Meanwhile, Tarleton had five players in double figures, led by Chuck Guy’s 18 points.
The Texans, who carried just one loss on the season into Saturday, shot just 20 percent from the field in the first half, trailing by as much as 18 points in the opening period and went into the locker room 37-26 at the break; however, it took them less than four minutes to erase that deficit and take the lead for the first time, 42-39 on a banked-in three from Guy.
But the Lions responded, retaking the lead for a short time on a Walker three, and never let the Texans put them away, trailing by no more than eight points at any instance in the second half. Another Walker three tied things up with 5:42 to play at 66-66, but TSU’s Coleman Furst answered with threes on two straight possessions, and gave the Texans a 74-70 lead with just 4:05 to go.
The Lions then went to work from the foul line, getting a five straight freebies from Carnegie around a layup from De’Andre Upchurch to find itself down 76-75 with just over a minute to play.
They then turned to Wooten, who knifed his way to the basket and drew the fifth foul of the game on Tashawn Mabry with 32 seconds left to get to the line. Wooten then, as he had done just one week ago at West Texas A&M, calmly knocked down both shots to go up 77-76.
The Texans had a shot to go back ahead, but Jon Cathey-Macklin was called for basket interference, forcing them to send Walker to the line for what proved to be insurance points for the Lions.
The LSC Tournament will kick off on Wednesday with all events being held at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas.