The UAFS Men’s Basketball team went 1-1 this weekend in conference play, defeating St. Mary’s on Thursday and falling to Texas A&M International Saturday afternoon.
The 72-61 win over St. Mary came from a late run in the second half, the game was fairly close until the Lions went on a 9-0 run midway through the second half and were able to hold on until the final buzzer.
DeVaunta Thomas led all scoring with 17 points with help from freshman Kyree Elder and senior Alex Cooper who both had 13.
A big key to the victory came from the Lion’s bench, accounting for 46 of the 72 points scored. The bench players are a crucial piece in fast paced games like Thursday night, without big performances from secondary players the Lions are not near as competitive.
Saturday’s game was a heartbreaking 53-54 loss to Texas A&M International. The Lions maintained a demanding lead throughout the first half but were unable to hold back A&M during the second half of play, the Dust Devils took the lead with 13 minutes left in the second half and were able to hold off the Lions for the win.
Turnovers crippled the Lions in Saturday afternoon’s game, and even more than turnovers (21) were points scored off those turnovers by the Dust Devils (25). A&M also dominated the paint outscoring the Lions 26-16.
Seth Youngblood (13) and Alex Cooper (12) led all scores for the Lions in the defeat. The Dust Devils swept the Lions this year in conference play and hand UAFS their fifth conference loss of the season. Cooper and Youngblood are the lone seniors on this team and have been the backbone of UAFS basketball since the start of their careers, the two crowd favorites will be sadly missed during their final games here at UAFS.
Despite the loss, Alex Cooper reached a monumental accomplishment in his career becoming the UAFS all-time steals leader. The senior guard, known for his ferocious defense, earned all-conference honors a year ago and has been one of the key leaders on this team. Cooper hopes to repeat his all-conference honors during his final season.
With just seven games remaining in the season, the UAFS Lions are now 13-10 overall and 6-5 in conference and are currently in sixth place in the Heartland Conference standings. The Lions will need a late season push in order to receive a high seeding for the conference tournament.
The Lions hit the road this weekend to face back to back away games starting with Oklahoma Panhandle State Thursday evening, and Newman University Saturday afternoon. UAFS defeated both of these teams earlier in the season but will have to do so again without the home court advantage.