By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (March 15, 2015) — Derrick White is prolific. That much everyone knows.
Tarleton State faces the tough task of limiting White when the No. 7 Texans, the top seed and host in the South Central Region Championship, face No. 10 Colorado-Colorado Springs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. It’s the final regional semifinal game, following a battle between Lone Star Conference rivals Angelo State and Midwestern State at 5 p.m.
Tarleton is coming off a balanced performance with five double-digit scorers in its 15th win over the last 16 games, while UCCS was carried through the opening round of the regional by White, a junior point guard who amassed 50 points Saturday.
The Texans thumped St. Mary’s 71-52 in a game that was never in doubt, while UCCS, the fourth seed in the regional, needed all of White’s 50 to survive a tough test from Colorado School of Mines in a 90-87 win to conclude a wild day of regional quarterfinals at Wisdom Gym. It was the the eighth win in nine games for the Mountain Lions.
Three of the four games were determined by six points or less Saturday, with Tarleton being the only team to cruise into the second round with ease. Angelo State defeated Texas A&M-Commerce 85-79 and Midwestern State beat Metropolitan State-Denver 58-56.
Tarleton shot better than 55 percent Saturday, including hitting each of its first 11 shot attempts of the second half. Davene Carter was 10-21 and scored 21 points while Mo Lee had 15, Michael Hardge 12, Malcom Hamilton 12 and Damion Clemons 10.
The Texans are trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in school history. They have twice advanced to the Elite Eight, including reaching the Final Four in 2005. Tarleton is 16-11 all-time in the NCAA playoffs, including 15-9 in regional games.
UCCS, on the other hand, is enjoying unprecedented success, as Saturday marked the first-ever NCAA playoff victory by the Mountain Lions.
The 5 p.m. semifinal is the third meeting this season between ASU and Midwestern, with ASU having won each of the two Lone Star Conference regular season confrontations. But under head coach Nelson Haggerty, Midwestern has never lost to a team three times in one season.
Demario Mayfield scored 24 points and Marsell Holden 22 for ASU Saturday. Midwestern was led by Bretson McNeal, who scored 10 of his 14 over the final 5:17.
Tarleton is 1-1 this season against both Lone Star Conference rivals.