Monday, April 6, 2015

NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament: Angelo State vs. Tarleton State

It was another rematch for a championship title for the Rams, but instead of the Lone Star Conference, it was for the South Central Regional title. And it was once again against Tarleton State University.

As is typical when these two teams play one another, both teams put up strong defenses and found key scoring moments throughout the first half. Tarleton had a slim 29-27 lead at the half. The second half would prove to be just as tight as the first. The Rams came out on a 7-2 run to take the lead 34-31 with a little more than 18 minutes remaining in the game. Again, in typical fashion, both teams jockeyed for the lead knotting the score 34-34 and 36-36 before the Texans went off on a 17-10 run to take a seven-point lead at 53-46 with 8:46 left to play.

ASU worked their way back trailing 59-58 after a Chris Jones three-pointer with just  over a minute left to play. Tarleton answered back with a three-pointer of their own to go ahead 62-58, and then ASU's Demario Mayfield hit yet another three-pointer to pull back within one point 62-61 with less than a minute to play. Everyone was on the edge of their seats. The Texans converted a layup to take a 64-61 lead and then Mayfield, again, hit a jumper to pull ASU back within one point 64-63. Senior guard Chris Jones drew a foul to head to the free throw line with a chance to tie or take the lead with just nine seconds left on the clock.

But Jones missed both shots.

ASU's Brentine Taylor came down with the offensive rebound after the botched second attempt and threw up a shot in desperation, but it came up short. The final buzzer of the game, and the Rams' season, sounded with Tarleton winning 66-64. Even though it was a tough loss, the Rams finished the season with some pretty impressive numbers. The Rams won the most games in program history finishing the season with a record of 28-6. They went on a 16-game winning streak and reached the highest-ever national ranking at No. 4 after starting the season 21-1. They also went 17-0 on their home court. All of this happened after the Rams finished with a dismal 7-19 record a mere two years ago finishing in last place in the Lone Star Conference. It was a fantastic season for the Rams and their fans. One that certainly rewrote the record books.

NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament: Angelo State vs. Midwestern State

Well, the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament is turning out to be another Lone Star Conference tournament. After the previous day's win over Texas A&M-Commerce, the Rams were set to play another LSC team, Midwestern State University, in the regional semifinal in Stephenville. Midwestern made it to the semifinal round after upsetting No. 2-seeded Metro State 58-56.

Midwestern led early in the first half, but were met with different defensive variations from the Rams which slowed their momentum. Midwestern went scoreless for five minutes while the Rams went on a 9-0 run to take a 12-10 lead with just over 12 minutes left to play in the first half. After scoring spurts from ASU's Marcell Holden, Chris Jones and Omari Gudul the Rams found themselves with a 37-25 lead at the half.

In the second half, the Rams never looked back continuing their strong defensive play and jumping out to a 21-point lead, their largest of the game. It was only a matter of the time left on the clock before ASU could celebrate their 66-49 win over Midwestern. The Rams looked to be on a roll and the only opponent that stood in their way of a bid to the Elite 8 in Evansville, Indiana was No. 1 seed Tarleton State, yet another Lone Star Conference foe.

NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament: Angelo State vs. Texas A&M-Commerce

Even with a loss in the Lone Star Conference Basketball Championships title game a week before, the Rams had a season record to give them an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament in Stephenville. Their first opponent: Texas A&M-Commerce.

That's right, it was going to be payback time for the Rams as it was Commerce that dashed the Rams' hopes of a conference title the week before. Remember, Commerce has beaten the Rams in their last two meetings. It was another back and forth game up to halftime where the Rams trailed 33-32. But once the second half got started, so did the Rams.

The Rams went on a 10-0 run finished by a DeQuavious Wagner layup to put their lead at 61-49. ASU's Demario Mayfield went on a scoring frenzy netting 16 of ASU's 20 points during the final eight minutes of the half. Mayfield finished the night with a team high 24 points to aid in the 85-79 win over the Lions. It was a pretty electric atmosphere in the gym as the Rams walked off the court with another win under their belt, the first time the Rams have advanced in the NCAA Division II postseason.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lone Star Conference Basketball Championships: Angelo State Rams vs. A&M-Commerce

Well, we're down to one last game for the Lone Star Conference Basketball Championships. The Rams would face Texas A&M-Commerce for the title. The Rams have already played Commerce twice this year, winning once at home and losing the other at Commerce. It was going to be tough battle, but one that the Rams seemed to be prepared for.

The first half of the game was a defensive battle on both sides as neither team would score more than 20 points. It was one of the lowest scoring first halves of the  season for the Rams. But the lack of scoring in the first half didn't carry over to the second as the Rams went on a 9-0 run to lead the game 27-21 with a little more than 17 minutes remaining. But Commerce responded with a 8-0 run themselves and started to pull away. The Rams were able to cut a 14-point deficit down to four when Marsell Holden hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to play. But the clock expired resulting in a 68-61 win for Commerce.

Even though they didn't come away with the conference title, the Rams still knew they had more basketball to play as their record was good enough for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament the following week. The Rams were disappointed in the outcome of the game, but there was another tournament on the horizon.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Lone Star Conference Basketball Championships: Angelo State Rams vs. Cameron

After a scare in the first round of the Lone Star Conference Basketball Championships against Texas A&M-Kingsville, the Rams faced Cameron in the semifinal round on Friday. Cameron had already beaten the Rams once this year and showed they weren't going down without a fight in the conference tournament. Cameron upset No. 3-seed Midwestern State two days earlier.

During the first half of play, Cameron went 5 for 5 from the 3-point line and slowed the ASU offensive machine on defense to head into the locker room tied at 30-30. But second-half adjustments gave the Rams the momentum they needed to pull away from the Aggies. The Rams were able to pull away by 17 points with just over three minutes to play in the game. The Rams shot 77.3 percent from the floor in the second half and outscored Cameron 42-12. ASU went on to win 76-53 to advance to the LSC championship game on Saturday.