STEPHENVILLE – In the final Lone Star Conference and Division II basketball game in Wisdom Gym, Tarleton made sure to make it memorable.
Playing as a No. 7-seed in the opening round of the LSC Championship Tournament, the Texans sent home No. 10-seed UT Permian Basin with a 84-68 rout and will advance to Frisco for the eight-team, three-day tournament. The Texans will take on No. 2-seed St. Edward’s on Friday, March 6 at 2:30 p.m. in the Comerica Center.
It’s the 19th straight season the Texans have advanced to the LSC Tournament – the longest active streak in the conference. Tarleton improves to 31-18 in the LSC Tournament in 22 career appearances.
Four players scored in double figures, led by Clashon Gaffney and Isaiah Range each with 17 points while Gaffney added ten rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Dexter Johnson posted 13 points and Josh Hawley added 12 points and nine rebounds.
In a win-or-go-home situation, the Texans (18-11) picked the perfect time to have its best start to the season. The Texans opened the game on a staggering 36-6 run and never looked back. The stretch featured runs of 8-0, 12-0, and 16-0 to lead by 30 with 5:24 left in the first half. Tarleton led 44-24 at the break – the second-largest halftime lead of the season, which the Texans also set against UTPB back on Jan. 16 when they were up by 23 and won by 22 in Wisdom Gym.
Photos by DAVID SWEARINGEN
Tarleton shot lights out in the half and in the game, connecting on 51 percent of its shots and went 7-of-14 on 3-pointers in the opening frame. Even more impressive was the Texan defense, who held the Falcons (16-16) to just 28 percent shooting in the first half and made only eight field goals.
UTPB came out and fought back for the first seven minutes of the second half when they cut the deficit to 11 at 57-46. But the Texans had too much depth and outside shooting for the Falcons, who rank last in the LSC in scoring defense at 84 points allowed per game.
The 11-point lead quickly extended to 24 – the largest in the second half – in just four minutes of play and the Texans coasted to the end. The lead was extended behind three 3-pointers from the Johnson and Zach Naylor, who posted nine points on a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
The Texans finished the game shooting 55 percent from the floor, including 60 percent in the second half. Devin Bethely posted six points and seven assists to pace the offense. Randall Broddie added five points to give the starting five 57 of the 84 points. Javontae Hopkins scored three points and Jaraan Lands added two to round out the scoring efforts.