Everything about the Howard College-New Mexico Military Institute game Thursday pointed toward an emphatic win for the Hawks.
Howard was on a four-game win streak, NMMI is at the bottom of the Region-5 West standings and this was the team the Hawks beat in Roswell, N.M., with four players in the final minutes of the game, due to suspensions and foul trouble.
While the Hawks triumphed for a 64-48 win Thursday, the Broncos gave Howard some trouble early on, enough for head coach Mark Adams to take notice.
“I was very worried about this game,” he said. “We just kind of pull them out. We don’t ever really beat anybody. We just kind of find a way to win. We hadn’t beat anybody at home for 40 minutes this year and that’s disappointing. But I certainly don’t want to take the win away from the guys. You have to give them credit.”
NMMI was up 17-11 in the early goings, while the Hawks had to battle back for the lead heading into halftime.
Carlos Emory started a small run with a 3-pointer and a dunk to put Howard down 17-16. A Tramel White 3-point play later gave Howard a 19-18 lead.
Howard hung on for a 26-22 lead at halftime, but NMMI quickly tied it back up to open the second half.
The Hawks pulled away when Shavon Coleman scored two consecutive buckets to make it 37-28, leading to a NMMI timeout.
Two free throws from Emory and a Joe Bright score made it 43-31 with 12:12 left. Later, a Jerry Dixon 3-pointer and another from Emory made it 52-35 with 6:55 left.
In the end, the Broncos just couldn’t keep up, but Adams wasn’t too thrilled about the Hawks’ performance.
Although glad his team won, Adams said he thought his players were looking past NMMI a little bit, considering the mammoth matchup with Midland College on Monday.
Immediately after Thursday’s game, the Hawks hit the practice floor for a workout.
Adams said the key at this point in the season is getting the Hawks to play at a high level on a consistent basis. That needs to happen for a deep run in the postseason.
“They kind of want it to be easy sometimes,” Adams said. “That’s kind of the trend of these players these days that we coach. It’s just been challenging for this coaching staff to get this team ready every game.”