Highlanders trounce New Mexico in region V showdown

Posted at 9:04 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 22:04:36-05

The McLennan Highlanders avenged a five-point loss to New Mexico Nov. 10 with an 89-64 thrashing of the Thunderbirds this afternoon at Dallas Baptist University.

McLennan opened the scoring with a Marquez Cooper jumper less than 20 seconds into the game. The two teams traded baskets for just over four minutes of play and were tied at seven with 15:29 remaining in the first half. A Xavier Armstead 3-pointer from the corner ignited an 11-0 run for the Highlanders as they held the Thunderbirds scoreless for four minutes. A Franklyn Penn jumper for New Mexico trimmed the McLennan lead to nine, 18-9. The Highlanders responded with another run this time of the 6-0 variety with bookend baskets by Dayante McClellan to increase the lead 15, 24-9. The Thunderbirds rallied to cut the Highlanders’ lead to eight late in the half but McLennan pulled away once again to take the 13-point advantage into the locker room, 42-29.

Jashawn Talton fired up the Highlanders to start the second half, scoring the first eight points for McLennan. McLennan led 50-31 with 18:11 remaining in the game. A personal foul followed by a technical foul on New Mexico’s Marcell Haskett pumped up the Highlanders even more. Xaiver Armstead drained both free throws following the technical to spark a 9-0 McLennan run and force the Thunderbirds to call for a timeout. The Highlanders’ swarming defense forced a series of turnovers for the Thunderbirds as they held New Mexico to just the 3-ponter by Haskett in the first four and a half minutes of the half. McLennan continued to go full throttle, extending the lead to 34, 83-49, with 3:49 remaining in the game. The Thunderbirds rallied late but it wasn’t enough to dig out of the big hole created by the Highlanders.

Javen Hedgeman led McLennan with a double double, 23 points and 10 rebounds. Jashawn Talton scored 13 points while Aaron Gregg and Marquez Cooper added 11 each. Xaiver Armstead rounded out the Highlanders in double figures with 10 points.

The Highlanders return to their home court Saturday, hosting North Lake at 2 p.m.