West Texas A&M celebrates after beating St. Edward’s 81-65 to claim its third straight Lone Star Conference championship at the Comerica Center in Frisco. [Trevor Fleeman/ WT athletics]
West Texas A&M Buffs got some payback Sunday afternoon.
Best of all, it almost certainly earned them the right to host an NCAA Division II South Central Regional this Friday.
After falling behind by 17 points in the first half against St. Edward’s in the Lone Star Conference Tournament championship game Sunday afternoon at the Comerica Center In Frisco, the Buffs had to dig down deep to win their third straight LSC tourney. They did, and they found it for their ninth overall LSC Tournament title.
The Buffs avenged their only loss of the year to the Hilltoppers, 100-87, back in December, and did without panicking despite a rough start. WT closed strong, outscoring St. Edward’s by a 30-11 margin to close the game and cruised to an 81-65 victory to further stamp their mark on the rest of the LSC.
With the win, No. 3 WT (32-1) looks like a lock to host the NCAA Division II South Regional as the No. 1 seed.
But that hardly seemed like a lock for a good chunk of Sunday afternoon. The Buffs scored the first five points of the game, only to see the Hilltoppers answer back with a 17-0 run.
WT was unable to get any closer than nine points the rest of the half as St. Edward’s (27-9) got the lead to as much as 33-16. The Hilltoppers led 38-25 at halftime as the Buffs shot only 24 percent from the floor.
Jon’il Fugett set the tone for the Buffs to start the second half, though by scoring on a three-point play after a tip-in and Joel Murray followed with a layup to cut it to 38-30, as WT began chipping away at the lead.
The Buffs, who will carry a 23-game win streak into the NCAA DII Tournament, took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes when Murray, the tournament MVP who had a game-high 21 points, scored on a jumper to make it 46-45. But St. Edward’s eventually reclaimed the lead after Ryan Garza hit back-to-back jumpers to make it 54-51.
That’s when the Buffs hit the switch for good. Murray hit four straight free throws then made a 3-pointer to make it 58-54, and the Buffs never relinquished the lead.
With the score 68-65, the Buffs closed the game with 13 unanswered points. Qua Grant, the LSC’s player of the year who hadn’t scored a field goal to that point, scored 11 of those points to put the game on ice.
Grant finished with 18 points and five Buffs scored in double figures. Fugett, Eric Mosley and Jordan Collins all had 12 points for WT.
Jake Krafka led St. Edward’s with 15 points, Garza had 13 and Corey Sherrill scored 11.
LCU claims first ever LSC Tournament championship
The Lubbock Christian Lady Chaps beat Texas A&M-Commerce, 57-44, on Sunday to claim their first ever Lone Star Conference Tournament championship. [Trevor Fleeman/ WT athletics]
Lubbock Christian may be in its first season as a Lone Star Conference member, but winning titles is nothing new to them.
And after Sunday, you can call them LSC champions as the Lady Chaps (28-3) cut down the nets at the Comerica Center in Frisco after beating top-seed Texas A&M-Commerce, 57-44 in the finals of the LSC Championship.Canyon graduate and LCU senior Caitlyn Cunyus was the tournament MVP. Cunyus was consistent throughout the weekend, doing whatever the Lady Chaps needed. On Sunday, she had six points, four rebounds and three assists.Joining Cunyus on the all-tournament team was Nazareth graduate and Lady Chap sophomore Allie Schulte, who had 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.