Showing no signs of rust from a three-week layoff, the conference-leading Texas College Steers shifted right back into the highest of gears with a 109-82 win over Paul Quinn Saturday at Gus F. Taylor Gymnasium.
The 24th-ranked Steers scored 38 points off turnovers and 27 more in transition, and beat the Tigers at their own transition game. Paul Quinn entered the contest averaging 106 points before suffering its largest loss of the season, bumping down an earlier 119-98 setback to UT Tyler.
Jamal Robertson and Norman Stewart bucketed 20 points apiece and Wendell Maye drained 19 points as Texas College improved to 13-2. The Steers slowed a Tigers team that averaged 106 points during the fall.
“We’re in a situation where we’re No. 1 in the conference right now,” said Steers coach Marquet Norfleet, whose team sits atop the Red River Athletic Conference at 7-1. “We’ve never really been in this spot, alone by ourselves. Everybody’s going to throw their best punch at us. We wanted to come in and play hard and execute some things and be solid.”
The Steers’ standout trio of Robertson, Stewart and Maye combined to shoot 25 for 35 (71 percent) from the field. The Steers shot 56 percent for the game as they continued their strong play against RRAC opponents.
The high-scoring threesome of Aaron McCuin (34 points, 17 rebounds), Myron Dempsey (23 points) and Tedrick Urine (20 points) sparked Paul Quinn (7-3), which is ineligible for postseason play in the RRAC.
But while no other Paul Quinn player besides the top three scored more than two points, TC received scoring contributions from 11 players.
Robertson, a 5-11 senior off guard from Dallas, shot 8 for 13 and added four assists to spark TC in the half court and on the break.
Stewart showed off his touch as well, nailing 8 of 10 shots, including 4 of 5 on money balls. Stewart, a 6-6 senior forward from Baton Rouge, La., guarded everything from point guards to post men, finishing with three steals and a block on the defensive end.
Maye, a 6-3 senior wing from Daphne, Ala., made 9 of 12 shots and registered four assists with three steals.
The Steers never trailed by more than one point, taking the lead for good on a trey by Stewart, who hit his first four attempts from beyond the arc.
TC carried a comfortable 53-34 lead into the break. The Steers acted anything but comfortable to start the second half, however, going on a 23-0 run in just over four minutes. Senior point guard Eddren McCain, a transfer from Paul Quinn, ignited the Steers attack with nine points, seven steals and a team-high five steals.
The Steers improved to 44-15 at home under Norfleet, in his fifth year since taking over at his alma mater. The Steers won against Paul Quinn minus their usual fan base, with students still away on the winter break.
“I felt we started the game slow,” Norfleet said. “Sometimes we feed off our crowd. In order for us to be a complete team we have to play hard at all times. We wanted to get in our press, and our guys executed it very well.”
TC received 34 points from the bench as the lead stayed above 20 points over the final 19 minutes. Titus Stevenson supported the second team with eight points and a team-best six rebounds. Glenn Williams chipped in 10 points while guards Hakeem Poles (six points, four assists) and Sherrod Phillips (four points) helped the Steers score a season high.
“We have a couple guys capable of starting on this unit,” Norfleet said of his reserves. “We have to be able to plug in. I’m proud of the guys and the way they’ve been playing so far.”
Texas College 109, Paul Quinn 82
PAUL QUINN (7-3)— Myron Dempsey 11-21 1-5 23, Marquest Watson 0-0 0-0 0, Jared Mitchell 1-10 0-0 2, Aaron McCuin 11-15 12-17 34, Tedrick Urine 8-17 2-3 20, Francis Frank 0-4 1-2 1, Quentin Johnson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-68 16-27 82.
TEXAS COLLEGE (13-2)— Kerry Jones 2-4 3-4 7, Aaron McCuin 2-4 4-4 9, Micah Fisher 1-3 1-1 3, Titus Stevenson 4-13 0-0 8, Wendell Maye 9-12 1-2 19, Hakeem Poles 3-8 0-0 6, Jamal Robertson 8-13 2-2 20, Sherrod Phillips 2-6 0-0 4, Norman Stewart 8-10 0-0 20, Jhirmetrious Cochran 1-2 1-2 3, Glenn Williams 5-7 0-0 10. Totals 45-81 12-15 109.
Halftime—TC 53, PQ 34. 3-Point Goals—PQ 2-12 (Dempsey 0-1, Mitchell 0-4, McCuin 0-1, Urine 2-6), TC 7-14 (McCain 1-1, Fisher 0-1, Stevenson 0-1, Maye 0-1, Poles 0-2, Robertson 2-3, Stewart 4-5). Fouled out—Cochran. Rebounds—PQ 45 (McCuin 17), TC 31 (Stevenson 6). Assists—PQ 11 (Dempsey Mitchell 3), TC 24 (McCain 7). Total Fouls—PQ 14, TC 24. Next up — Texas College at Wiley, Thursday.