Texans erase double-digit halftime deficit, tame Thunderbirds 83-74

Texans erase double-digit halftime deficit, tame Thunderbirds 83-74

LEVELLAND — Jordan Brangers netted 25 points and Deshawn Corprew bucketed 15 as the South Plains College men's basketball team overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to clip New Mexico Junior College 83-74 Thursday night at the Texan Dome.

South Plains improves to 18-7 on the season and 10-3 in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference and will return to the hardwood on Monday night when they square off with Western Texas in Snyder.

"This was a tale of two halves," South Plains College head coach Steve Green said. "We didn't realize the game started at 7:45 tonight, because we didn't start playing until 8:30. We got in a zone with an eight-point lead, and I think they felt like they had to get it all back at one time. I think when we went to the two-three zone, the game could have gone either way."

Trailing 45-33 at the midway point, New Mexico's Franklyn Penn Jr. extended the lead to 14 with a 3 from the right wing with 17:27 to go. South Plains would answer with a 12-4 run over the new three minutes as Corprew trimmed the deficit to just six with a trey from the top of the key with 14:27 remaining.

Brangers would knot the game at 58 all with a triple from the left corner with 11:11 to go. New Mexico responded on their next two possessions, reclaiming the lead 62-58 on a Paul Williams' runner with under 10 to play. The Texans would once again answer the call, utilizing a 16-3 run over the next four minutes and 10 seconds capped by a 3-ball from Brangers, his third of the stretch to put South Plains up 74-65 with 5:28 left.

The Texans would take their largest lead of the contest, 79-65 on a 3 from Chris Orlina with less than four minutes remaining. A pair of free throws from New Mexico's David Iwowari brought the Thunderbirds back within seven with a buck 41 left, but two free throws from South Plains' Keith McGee sealed the deal as the Texans picked up their third win in the last four outings.

"Jordan hit a couple shots and Ray hit a couple of jump hooks, and we were able to score three or four times in a row coming down the floor," Green said. "Combine that with them missing three or four times, there's your ball game."

Brangers finished 5 of 9 from the perimeter to go along with five rebounds and three assists over 33 minutes. Corprew finished just 4 of 13 from the floor but grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in 33 minutes of action. Orlina tallied 11 points and six boards while Raymond Doby poured in 10 points and corralled six boards.

Penn Jr. led the Thunderbirds (14-12, 3-9) with 25 points and eight rebounds, knocking down 11 of his 22 attempts from the field. Williams finished with 13 points on 4 of 13 shooting and Tavion Robinson netted 12 points over 25 minutes.

South Plains was 8 of 13 from the perimeter in the second half after going just 3 of 13 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes. New Mexico shot just 29 percent from the field and 13 percent from long range in the second half after shooting 48 percent to begin the contest.