Tarleton State ties program record with 15 conference wins after victory at Southern Utah

Texans extend the nation’s second-longest active win streak to 10 games


CEDAR CITY, Utah — Tarleton State Men’s Basketball concluded its final road trip of regular season a perfect 2-0 to complete its quest of knocking off each WAC team this season on Saturday night against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in America First Event Center.

Texans (22-7 overall, 15-3 WAC) extend the nation’s second-longest active winning streak to 10 games. Following a pair of losses by Merrimack and St. Mary’s, the Texans 10-game streak is tied with James Madison and behind only South Florida’s 14-straight wins. With the victory over the Thunderbirds (9-20, 4-14), Tarleton State ties its program record for most conference wins in a season in any league, 15.

“It’s a great honor to have won 15 conference games and it has been a successful season so far,” commented acting head coach Joseph Jones. “I am proud of our team for working hard and coming out on top when we have been faced with adversity. However, the job is not done yet. We have two more home games this week and we want to keep it up. We want the fans to come and show the appreciation for our guys and how hard they worked this year.”

Jakorie Smith extended the Texans streak to 13 games with at least one player scoring 20-plus. Smith ended the night with 22 points and also led the team with three steals and pulled down three boards.

The Texans had four score in double figures. KiAndre Gaddy posted 18 points and a team-high eight rebounds. The WAC’s leading offensive rebounder pulled down five on the offensive glass. Lue Williams notched 15 and Adam Moussa scored 13 off the bench. Moussa led the squad with six assists, a game high. The senior has scored at least 10 points in two of the last three games.

In a half that saw two ties and four lead changes, the Texans faced an obstacle in the early part of the first half. Southern Utah’s Zion Young scored the Thunderbirds’ first 23 point in the first nine minutes of action. Young remained in the game for the remainder of the half but did not score in the final 11 minutes. All five Texan starters scored during the SUU run, ending with a Thunderbird 23-19 lead with 11:11 remaining.

Traivar Jackson sparked momentum for the Texans converting on an alley-oop off an inbound pass from Moussato cut the deficit to 28-26 with 7:50 remaining.

After holding an 8-7 lead in the first four minutes, the Texans didn’t lead again until the 1:54 mark, where Smith sunk a corner three to give the Texans a 37-35 advantage. The Texans closed the first 20-minute session on a 7-2 run to take a 39-37 lead into the break.

The Texans shot 54.5 percent from the floor in the first half, while Southern Utah shot 58.3 from deep with 21 of their 37 points coming from the three-ball. Tarleton forced 10 turnovers while only committing five.

Southern Utah quickly regained the lead in the first minute of the second half using a 5-0 run to take a 42-39 lead. Williams responded scoring six of the next nine Texan points, only broken up by an Emmanuel Innocenti triple. Gaddy capped the TSU 7-0 run putting the Texans up 50-45 with 14:46 remaining. The run gave the Texans the lead for good.

Southern Utah swapped baskets but was never able to regain the lead. Smith’s 15 second half points led the team. Tarleton led by as many as 12, 83-71 with 2:30 remaining. But, the Thunderbirds weren’t down for the count yet. SUU rattled off a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to just six, in 48 seconds.

After a Gaddy made free throw, four more SUU points, cut the Texan lead to just three, 84-81 with 21 ticks to go. Moussa and Smith knocked down four straight free throws to escape with the 88-83 victory.

The Purple and White won their 33rd-straight game when shooting 50 percent or better from the field. Tarleton connected on 33-of-64 from the floor, 51.6 percent. Tarleton also won their fifth game this season when shooting greater than 80 percent from the charity stripe. TSU was 17-for-20, an 85-percent mark.

For the 11th time this season, the Texans committed less than 10 turnovers winning the battle, 16-9. SUU won the battle of the boards, 32-31. After a 7-for-12 performance from deep in the first half, the Thunderbirds made just two of their nine attempts in the second half, a 22.2 percent mark.

Tarleton State will return to Wisdom Gym for its final two games of the regular season. Thursday night, the Texans will be in search of their sixth season sweep facing off against the Utah Valley Wolverines. In a day of goodbyes, Saturday the Texans will honor its five seniors as well as retiring Athletic Director, Lonn Reisman. Tip is slated for 4 p.m. against the Seattle U Redhawks.

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