Buffaloes run record to 9-0 with non-conference victory
The win lifts WTAMU to 9-0 on the year, marking the first time the Buffaloes have opened a season with nine consecutive wins since doing so at the start of the 1997-98 Elite Eight campaign. UTPB drops to 5-6 on the season.
“This was a good win against a very good, well coached team,” said WT head coach Rick Cooper.
The Buffs used a 10-3 run midway through the first half to turn a 12-5 lead into a 14 point, 22-8 advantage with 7:21 to play
Not to be outdone, the Falcons came back on the strength of a 16-2 run to tie the contests, 24-24, on a three-pointer by Elijah Jordan at 3:06.
Louis Crane hit a three from the right corner to give the Falcons their first lead, 29-28, with 46 seconds to play in the first half.
Chubby Henderson (Jr-TR, Chandler, Ariz.) hit a twisting layup late in the half to give the Buffaloes a 30-29 halftime lead.
“We built that 14-point lead late in the half,” Cooper said. “After that point, I thought their (UTPB’s) intensity picked up a notch and we didn’t. We’ve had trouble starting game and we didn’t have that problem tonight. We just hit a lull late in the half.
“We also gambled quite a bit, defensively. That cost us a few times.”
The Buffaloes opened the second half by hitting seven of their first 10 field goal attempts. Five buckets were by Foster, including three of the driving layup variety, while Alex Davis (Sr-1L, Milwaukee, Wis.) contributed a three from the top of the key.
Defensively, the Buffs clamped down, forcing empty possessions on 10 of their first 14 possessions of the half, as the Buffaloes took a 48-37 lead with 13:12 left.
A LaDarius Hall (Sr-1L, Thomasville, Ga.) dunk ran the score to 58-44 at the 6:05 mark.
After UTPB’S Dwayne Soders hit a three-pointer to cut the WT lead to six points, WT’s Little drained a three-pointer from the left wing to boost the Buffs’ lead back to nine points, 62-53, with 2:04 to play.
Hall then gave WT an 11 point advantage at 63-53 when he drained a pair of free throws with 1:20 to play.
In addition to Foster’s 15 points and Little’s 13, Joe Mincey (Sr-1L, Brunswick, Ga.) chipped in 10 points. Little also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds from his guard spot. Foster had a game-high six assists and four steals, but also committed six turnovers.
UTPB was paced by Erik Martin, who scored 14 points. Dwayne Soders added 12 and Louis Crane tallied 11 points. Martin and Soders each had a team-high seven rebounds for the Falcons.
The Buffs shot 54.2 percent from the field, including 60 percent in the first half, while the Falcons shot just 34.5 percent from the floor and were limited to 26.3 percent in the second half.
UTPB’s 34.5 field goal percentage represents the second-lowest total allowed by the Buffs this season, with both of their opponent’s lowest two totals coming in the last two contests (Rhema Bible shot just 26.2 percent last Saturday).
The Falcons outrebounded the Buffs by a 34-33 count. The Buffaloes committed 19 turnovers, while UTPB had 18.
The Buffs’ next outing will be this Saturday, Dec 18, when they host 13th-ranked Central Oklahoma. Tipoff at the First United Bank Center is set for 6 p.m. CST.
“We have one day to prepare for one of the best teams in the country,” Cooper said. “UCO represents a tremendous challenge.”