Sophomores Kieffer Punter and Shahada Wells scored 21 points and 17 points, respectively, to lead Tyler Junior College by Lamar State College Port Arthur 73-55 in Saturday's NJCAA Region 14 opener at The Parker Center in Port Arthur.
The Apaches from Tyler improved to 6-0 overall as they shot 46.6 percent from the field (27 of 58). The home Seahawks dropped to 3-4 for the season, hitting only 33.8 percent (22 of 66) of their shots.
"We went on a scoring drought," Seahawks coach Lance Madison said. "Some shots didn't fall and some quick turnovers led to some breakout points for them. And in the second half, they came out and scored some baskets and played well."
Tyler was averaging 94.2 points per game coming to Port Arthur.
The Apache zone defense kept LSCPA far from its 83.5-point per game average.
"We didn't do a very good job of getting offensive rebounds against their zone," Madison said. "We had some open looks, but didn't knock down the shots. They just played a better game than we did."
The Seahawks were led by sophomore Devaughn Thomas, who hit on 11 of 18 from the floor and scored 23 points. But he was the only LSCPA player to score in double figures.
The final eight minutes of the first half and first 10 minutes of the second half saw Tyler outscore the Seahawks 40-16 to go from one point behind to 23 points ahead.
Rebounds were even at the half but Tyler wound up with a 48-37 edge for the game as Wells pulled down nine, Rory Pantophlet eight and Malik Lawrence-Anderson had seven for the visitors from Region 14's North Zone.
Thomas and Darrell Jones had eight boards each for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks' next home game will be 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 vs. Panola College. But more immediately, they will travel to Pensacola, Florida to play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the Pensacola Thanksgiving Classic. Two of their three opponents, No. 7 Tallahassee Community College and No. 18 Northwest Florida State College, are nationally ranked.
"We've got to play better on the road," Madison said.
Tyler led 35-26 at halftime after outscoring the Seahawks 15-6 in the final 8:20 of the opening period.
Punter led the Apaches with 11 points and 6-foot-9 teammate Pantophlet added eight.
Thomas scored 14 Seahawks points in the game's first 20 minutes, grabbing seven rebounds in the process.
LSCPA led 21-20 after Thomas' jumper with 8:20 left in the first. A basket-and-one by Punter game TJC a 23-21 lead that grew to four points before Terrence Smith made it a two-point game with a short jumper. But a free throw by Smith and layup by Jamyus Jones were the only points for the Seahawks in the final five minutes of the first half.
Tyler opened the second half with a 3-pointer by Jason Bush and was 8 of 18 in all from behind the bonus stripe. The Seahawks hit on just 4 of 25 3-point tries and 7 of 15 free throws.