Lone Star Conference Postseason Tourney Again Helps Circuit Land Eight Teams in NCAA Field

by BoCarter | Posted on Monday, March 11th, 2019
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FRISCO, Texas – Chalk up another sweep for basketball power West Texas A&M in Sunday’s Lone Star Conference men’s and women’s basketball championships and a host’s role for the WT men in the March 16-18 NCAA Division II South Regional Region tourney at Canyon, Texas.
The Buffaloes (31-3 overall and top seed in the meet at 17-1 in the LSC), also LSC regular-season titlists, outlasted fellow NCAA tourney maker Texas A&M-Commerce 57-55 behind a career-best 32 points from guard Brandon Hall while the No. 16 nationally Lady Buffs rolled past battle-weary (and 2019 LSC women’s co-champ) Angelo State 71-55 to bring both trophies back to Canyon and receive automatic NCAA qualification.
But just as importantly as conference postseason championships go, the WT squads have been joined by six additional at-large LSC contenders in the NCAA pairings denoted Sunday night in a live webcast on NCAA.com.
One the men’s side Top Eight South Central Region finishers Angelo State (21-8) and Texas A&M-Commerce (23-8) earned at-large nods while Tarleton State (21-10 overall) just missed one of those coveted eight positions and an automatic bid.
Angelo State (24-5 overall), Eastern New Mexico (19-10), Texas A&M-Commerce (20-10), and Tarleton State (22-8) joined the Lady Buffs (now 28-3 on the season) in the NCAA brackets.
And besides offering some of the top DII basketball nationally from March 8-11 in Frisco, the tourney featured teams roaring to 100 points apiece (ASU’s 108-103 NBA-like triumph over the Tarleton five last Saturday night), several buzzer-beaters or games decided in the last 20 seconds and a variety of fast-paced activity.
In fact, Tarleton State men’s head coach Chris Reisman (son of legendary TSU mentor and now AD there Lonn Reisman) and head coach Tres Segler of Eastern New Mexico – two non-NCAA-qualifying teams but just on the cusp of berths – summed up the feelings of most of their fellow coaches after TSU edged the Greyhounds 87-85 in the quarter-finals on Randall Braddie’s 18-foot jumper from the wing with .6 second left in overtime.
“I tip my hat to Eastern New Mexico,” said a drained Chris Reisman after the Day One tourney nailbiter. “I have been in this league for a long time as an assistant coach and a head coach, and it always seems like these two teams come down to a two-point margin every time we play. That was a hard-fought game from the tipoff, and I was proud of our team coming back from 11 points down with eight minutes in regulation to put it into overtime.”
Segler was similarly gracious even after the go-either-way setback.
“It was just back and forth out there,” he began, “and such a great tournament game. We had a chance to put it away with the 11-point lead, but Tarleton just kept coming back at us. My head is still spinning after this close game and there are so many things to process. Tarleton hit some tough shots from the perimeter late, and we just could not stop them. I’m very proud of this team’s work ethic and senior leadership all season. We had some tough times, but the players played through them and were competitive until the final seconds of the season.”
Now the “Great LSC Eight” try to carry on the league’s success in NCAA play over the past several years and to use the experience from one of the oldest conference basketball postseason championships (45th annual on the men’s side and historic 37th annual for the LSC women) among all NCAA divisions.
And the WT women (with a record 15th LSC tourney crown, 15-8 overall in the finals) and Buffaloes (eighth LSC trophy to pass longtime conference powerhouse Midwestern State for the all-time best) can carry their momentum into some key early games for probable advancement.
And believe it or not, the regular-season slate will take on new meaning as the conference expands to 18 members in men’s and women’s basketball with the additions of solid hoops’ colleges Arkansas-Fort Smith, Dallas Baptist (a 2019 NCAA men’s at-large crew), Lubbock Christian (also in the ’19 NCAAs), Oklahoma Christian, St. Edward’s (Texas), St. Mary’s (Texas), UT Tyler, and Texas A&M International.
LSC commissioner Jay Poerner assured one media member that the tournament would not include all 36 men’s and women’s teams or expend by three days. Conference administrators will use spring and summer meetings to determine the 2020 format.
In the meantime, fans can access Lonestarconference.org and NCAA.com websites and links to follow their favorite teams and enjoy some sizzling 2019 NCAA DII basketball activity.
Key Notes from the 2019 LSC postseason championships:
– Brandon Hall scored a career-high 32 points to lead West Texas State past TAMUC and back-to-back tourney tiles for the Buffaloes.
– Women’s tourney MVP Abby Spurgin of WT did not start the game but answered the bell off the bench with eight points, six rebounds and a LSC Championship-record nine blocked shots against Angelo State.
– LSC men’s all-tournament team: Randall Broddie, Tarleton State; Trey Conrod, Texas A&M-Commerce; Willie Rooks, Texas A&M-Commerce; Qua Grant, West Texas A&M
– West Texas A&M now is 8-5 all-time in tournament final games and 2-1 against Texas A&M-Commerce.
– Hall’s 32 points marked the most by a player in the LSC Championship final since the tournament began being played at neutral sites in in 2008.
– Texas A&M-Commerce’s Rooks had a triple double in a Saturday semifinal win and then posted a double-double on Sunday with 19 points and 10 rebounds vs. the Buffaloes.
– The Lions were going for their first LSC postseason Championship crown since 2015 and remain with four all-time golds (4-6 all-time in the championship finale) as East Texas State and TAMUC.
– Angelo State women’s head coach Renae Shippy made the title contest in just her second year as the Belles chief mentor.
– LSC Defensive Player of the year Marquita Daniels entered the championship round Sunday with 44-of-149 (29.5 percent) from three-point range and a team-high 17.6 points average – just ahead of teammate De’Anira Moore with 14 ppg and 7.5 rpg,
– West Texas women’s head coach Kristen Mattio moves into her fourth consecutive NCAA appearance with an overall record of 111-22 (.835 winning percentage), three regional finals’ placements from 2016-18 and a South Central Regional Championship in 2016-17.
– Prior to the title clash, the No. 16 nationally Lady Buffs were tops in the third edition of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball South Central Regional Rankings ahead of Lubbock Christian, Colorado Mesa, Angelo State, Tarleton State, Westminster (Mo.), Eastern New Mexico, Texas A&M-Commerce, Newman (Kan.), and St. Mary’s (Texas).
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