The Angelina College Roadrunners got their first big test in just their second game of the season, with Lonestar College-Tomball taking the ‘Runners to the limit Wednesday night at Shands Gym in Lufkin.
It took a couple of big plays from sophomore Adrick McKinney in the final minute and a half for AC to overcome the Timberwolves 86-82 and push the Roadrunners out to a 2-0 start on the season.
McKinney followed his steal at the 1:16 mark with a put back of a Vinnie Walls miss to push the AC lead from 79-77 to 81-77, and Ron Steward knocked down a pair of free throws with 27 ticks remaining to give the Roadrunners a win in a game they'd trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half.
McKinney and his front line teammate Trent Brantley each finished with double-doubles, McKinney finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds and Brantley adding 21 points and 10 boards. Ja'Darius Davis hit four of six three-point attempts on the way to 19 points; and Ron Steward added 14 points that included three treys in six attempts.
Tomball put six players in double figures, led by Andre Corley and Joaquine Chappell with 13 each, Dontae Johnson with 12 and Taylor Johnston and Jarrod Woods with 11 points each.
The Roadrunners were able to overcome a shaky first half that saw the team hit for less than 20 percent from the field and 28 percent from the free-throw line. For the game, AC managed to hit just 34 percent from the charity stripe.
"We're certainly not going to win many games shooting 34 percent from the free-throw line," head coach Todd Neighbors said. "Our mental focus wasn't there at the beginning of the game, maybe because we had a blowout win just two nights ago. But the positive thing was that the guys finally started fighting and clawing and doing what it took to win, especially over the last few minutes.
"Tomball brought out a very disciplined team, and I thought it was a good test for us."
Trailing by 18 with just over five minutes to play in the first half, the Roadrunners went on a 13-2 run in those final five minutes to trail by seven, 46-39, at the break. McKinney, Steward and Brantley helped continue that surge into the second half, with the ‘Runners finally overtaking the Timberwolves 51-50 on a Brantley bucket at the 15:41 mark.
"Tomball was playing five guards on the floor for a lot of the game, and Trent and Adrick did a good job taking over the inside," Neighbors said. "They were the biggest reason we were able to get back into the game.
Tomball tied the game at 77-77 on a pair of Johnston free throws, but a Vinnie Walls make off a Brantley feed pushed the lead to a pair; and McKinney added his theft and follow-up to pad the lead and push the Roadrunners to a 2-0 record.
AC travels to Baton Rouge on Tuesday, with game time set for 7 p.m.