Texas A&M-Commerce wins two Southland Conference basketball openers

Jan. 1—COMMERCE — Both Texas A&M University-Commerce basketball teams closed out 2022 with victories over Incarnate Word in their Southland Conference openers on Saturday.

The Lion women won 64-61 while the Lion men needed overtime to beat the Cardinals 82-74.

A&M-Commerce is a new member of the Southland Conference after moving up from NCAA Division II to I and switching from the Lone Star Conference, where it had been a charter member since 1931.

DesiRay Kernal sealed the victory for the Lion women as she hit two free throws with 5.4 seconds left.

Incarnate Word missed a contested 3-pointer and a followup shot from close range in the final seconds to drop to 5-6 for the season.

Dyani Robinson and Olivia Russell hit back to back 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds to break a 55-55 tie for the Lions.

Robinson, who ranks as the top scorer in the Southland, led the Lions and all scorers with 21 points. She was 7-of-17 from the field and also recorded three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Kernal finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists after going 7-of-9 from the free throw line.

Russell produced 8 points and seven rebounds and Mia Deck added 7 points as the Lions improved to 3-10 for the season.

Nina De Leon Negron and Aliyah Collins both banked in 17 points for the Cardinals and Brenna Perez added 8 points.

The Lion men outscored the Cardinals 12-4 in the overtime after the two teams wound up tied at 70-70 at the end of regulation.

Demarcus Demonia, who was 12-of-19 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line, led the Lions and all scorers with 33 points to go with nine rebounds.

Tommie Lewis produced 15 points and nine rebounds for the Lions, who also collected 11 points each from Alex Peavy and J.J. Romer Rosario.

Jonathan Cisse, who was 11-of-12 from the line, led Incarnate Word with 20 points. Davante Dennis tossed in 17 points and Trey Miller and Josh Morgan both added 11 as the Cardinals dropped to 6-8 for the season. The Lions improved to 5-10.

Both Lion teams will resume conference play at home on Thursday in the Field House against Nicholls of Louisiana. The women's game is to tip off first at 5:30 p.m.