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Jackson Hits Four Free Throws in Final 20 Seconds to Clinch Win over Abilene Christian, 70-64
ENMU's Freshman Guard Scores Career-High 19 Points

Box Score

PORTALES, N.M. — Eastern New Mexico University received a career-high 19 points from freshman guard Joshua Jackson (Madison, WI/Madison West HS), including four free throws in the final 20 seconds, as the Greyhounds rallied from a 14-point deficit early in the second half to defeat Abilene Christian University, 70-64, on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Lone Star Conference win improved the Greyhounds to 11-14 overall, as ENMU remained in fourth place in the LSC South at 5-5. ACU dropped to 8-18 and was eliminated from the LSC Tournament race at 3-8 in the LSC South. ENMU also improved its record at Greyhound Arena to 8-3 this season.

Eastern took its first lead at 52-51 with 7:09 left. Four lead changes and three ties occurred before ENMU gained the lead for good, 64-62, on a jumper by Tristan Largent (Jr., G, Martinsburg, WV/Garrett College) with 48 seconds remaining. Jackson went 4 for 4 at the line the rest of the way and Ira Cross (Jr., F, Munford, AL/Gadsden State CC) tacked on two free throws with two seconds left, as the Hounds ended the game with an 8-2 run.

Jackson's first two free throws in the final minute gave ENMU a 66-62 lead. His final two charity shots with 12 seconds left countered a layup by Gabe Lombard of ACU with 14 seconds on the clock. Following a turnover by Lombard with five seconds left, Cross was fouled. He hit both free throws to complete the scoring.

ENMU holds a one-game lead over Midwestern State University (15-10, 4-6 LSC South) in the race for the final LSC Tournament berth as the fourth place team in the LSC South. The Greyhounds will clinch the final berth on Wednesday, Feb. 22, if West Texas A&M University defeats Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, Texas. ENMU also will clinch a tournament berth if the Greyhounds win at Tarleton State University (21-4, 10-4 LSC South) on Thursday, Feb. 23, or at Midwestern State on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Abilene Christian scored the first seven points of the game and held a 15-4 lead with 13:30 left in the opening half. Jackson scored the next seven points on three jumpers and a free throw that completed a three-point play. The Greyhounds reduced the lead to a single point, 17-16 on a layup by Jake Holladay (Fr., F, Gilmer, TX/Gilmer HS) with 9:04 remaining in the half.

ACU countered with eight consecutive points to start an 11-2 run, as the Wildcats took a 10-point advantage at 28-18. The run featured four layups and concluded with a 3-pointer by Tiago Souza with 6:17 on the clock.

The offensive surges continued, with six straight points by Eastern to get within 28-24, followed by seven unanswered points by the Wildcats. ACU held a 35-24 lead at the break.

Abilene Christian’s lead reached 14 points when Demarcquez Rembert sank a 3-pointer for the first basket of the second half with 19:07 remaining. Eastern answered with eight points in a row to cut the lead to 38-32 with 16:07 to go. ACU extended the margin to nine points, 41-32, on a three-pointer by Lombard, but then surrendered the next seven points to the Greyhounds.

Eastern finally caught up with ACU just under five minutes later, when Holladay hit the first of two free throws with 7:09 left. Holladay’s second free throw also went through the basket, as ENMU claimed a 52-51 lead.

The Greyhounds rallied without converting a 3-point shot in the second half. Eastern ended the game 1 for 12 on 3-pointers, including 1 for 9 in the first half. ENMU was able achieve the victory by shooting 61.9% from the field (13 of 21) and 95.2% from the free throw line (20 of 21) over the final 20 minutes. ACU hit just 37.0% of its second-half field goals (10 of 27).

ENMU finished the game 25 of 28 at the charity stripe (89.3%), while the Wildcats sank 7 of 11 free throws (63.6%). The Greyhounds also held a 36-26 rebounding edge, led by Donald Young (Jr., F, Mobile, AL/Southern Union State CC) with six boards. Jackson and Mikal Monette (Jr., F, Albuquerque, NM/University of New Mexico) added five rebounds apiece.

Jackson was joined in double figures by Monette, with 11 points, and by Jolen Montoya (Sr., G, Cordova, NM/Neosho County CC), who scored 10 points and registered a game-high five assists. Montoya, the Greyhounds’ only senior, was honored during pregame introductions. He has scored 521 points (11.1 avg.) and earned 150 assists (3.2 avg.) in two seasons at Eastern.

Rembert topped the ACU scoring chart with 17 points, but hit just 6 of 16 field goals. In the previous meeting between the two teams on Jan. 21, Rembert scored a career-high 33 points and was 14 of 22 from the field, as the Wildcats defeated the Greyhounds, 82-73.

Mauro Matai tacked on 13 points, while Souza and Cameron Holston scored 10 points each. Matai hauled down six rebounds and supplied four assists, while Rembert provided five rebounds. The Wildcats hit nine three-point attempts, but shot just 29.0% from behind the arc (9 of 31).