Muleriders avoid defeat in Arkadelphia

Reddies come out firing in the first half and go cold in the second half

Haley Spicer, Sports Reporter

With HSU men’s hoops hosting Southern Arkansas, this game was necessary to build intensity moving forward in the season. Down 2-0 in the season series versus the Muleriders, it was understood that a win for the Reddies was not optional.

Henderson State came out of the tipoff with high levels of energy and playing with a lot of heart and passion. Henderson State kept their foot on the gas early, thanks to SAU picking up a technical foul for taunting as their emotions boiled over.

HSU was efficient on the offensive end, going the first four minutes without committing a turnover. Fortunately for the Reddies’ opposition, SAU found some success from behind the three-point line to keep the score fairly close.

The Muleriders’ were plagued by fouls late in the first half. Henderson State entered the one-and-one situation and capitalized on it, cashing in at the free throw line as SAU’s starters were in foul trouble. However, SAU was still making something out of nothing against Reddies from three-point range.

SAU turned the game around in their favor to tie the score at 35 after being down by as many as 14. Moments later and down by one, HSU junior guard Damian Dear hit a buzzer-beater from long range to give the Reddies a two-point lead heading into halftime 37-35.

Out of the break, the teams went back and forth, the lead alternating teams each time down the floor. After several minutes of fast-paced action, HSU started to become sluggish. Dear was the primary spark for Henderson to start the half, running off eight straight points for them.

SAU dominated Henderson State on the offensive boards and second chance points. Henderson State’s mistakes on offense led to big-time turnovers. It became difficult for HSU to maintain the lead as scoring opportunities slipped through their hands, costing them the game in the final minutes. The Reddies fell at home to SAU, 73-68.

Head coach Jimmy Elgas said in his post-game interview, “We continue to be inconsistent on the offensive and defensive end.”

Henderson State resumes action again on Feb. 8 when they visit Ouachita Baptist across the Ravine.