By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
ARKADELPHIA — Henderson State used a go-ahead layup from Franck Kamgain with 17 seconds left while the HSU offense shot a season-high 54.3 percent (25-46) from the field to hold on and defeat Arkansas-Monticello Saturday afternoon, 65-66. The win snaps the Reddies’ four-game skid as they return to .500 in conference play.
Malik Riddle used his third-consecutive double-digit outing to lead HSU to victory, scoring 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. In his last three games, the Holly Springs, Mississippi native has shot 53.1 percent from the field. Franck Kamgain added 13 points, including the game-winning layup, and three assists while knocking down all four of his free-throws.
After making just two three-pointers all game against Southern Arkansas on Thursday, HSU came out knocking down two treys within the first four minutes of the game. Great shooting inside the perimeter had the Reddies up early, 12-6.
In addition to the offensive improvement, Henderson’s three-point defense did not allow its first three-pointer until the first-half clock read 8:07. By then, HSU had established a 22-15 lead before a pair of free-throws from Zyon Patterson and a fast-break layup from Riddle opened up a double-digit lead, 26-15.
After the opening 20 minutes, the Reddie defense held UAM’s second-ranked GAC three-point shooting percentage to just 15.4 percent (2-13) from deep while HSU made 14 of their 26 field-goal attempts for 53.8 percent in route to the 39-30 lead at halftime. Patterson scored all eight of his points in the first half while Riddle led the way nine. Alvin Miles occupied the facilitator role in the early going, operating the offense to the tune of four assists.
A jumper from Riddle minutes into the second half reestablished HSU’s double-digit lead at 41-30 while the Boll Weevils did not get their first second-half points until the 17:22 mark, but then the hot shooting changed hands. After going 2-of-13 from deep in the first frame, Arkansas-Monticello made five of their next nine three-point attempts prior to the under-eight media as the lead began to dwindle.
With Henderson leading 57-53 with 8:05 remaining in regulation, free-throws on both sides kept it a one-possession game until, with the game tied, UAM’s Isaac Jackson hit a trey with 2:05 left to give the Boll Weevils their first lead since the 18:33 mark of the first half, 65-62. A near-turnover on the ensuing HSU possession was bailed out by an Arkansas-Monticello foul that sent Tomislav Miholjcic to the charity stripe for a 1-and-1.
After having just missed a pair of free-throws not even two minutes earlier, the Serbian made these two count, knocking down both freebies to bring the HSU deficit to one, 65-64. A missed three-pointer on the other end gave the Reddies the ball with a chance to retake the defining lead. Henderson went to its leading scorer as Kamgain came around the right side and delivered the go-ahead layup with 17.8 seconds reading on the ticker.
Sporting a one-point lead, HSU’s defense stood tall one final time as the Boll Weevils were unable to get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded as Henderson came away with the 66-65 victory to complete the season sweep of Arkansas-Monticello and improve its winning streak over their former AIC rival to four in a row.
Henderson St. (8-8, 5-5) will now have one day off before taking the shortest road trip in all of sports when the season’s first basketball edition of the Battle of the Ravine takes place from inside Bill Vining Arena Monday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.