IN THE RANKINGS:
West Texas A&M jumped back into the top 25 this week in the NABC NCAA DII Coaches’ Poll. The Buffs moved up to No. 8 after extending their current win streak to five games with two Lone Star Conference road wins last week. The Buffs used a late surge to beat UT Permian Basin 83-82 and defeated Western New Mexico 72-55 on Saturday.
St. Edward’s made a huge jump in the poll to No. 11 this week as they have a current seven game win streak and are 13-1 overall this season. The Hilltoppers defeated NAIA Paul Quinn 116-57 last Monday then beat a hot Daemen College team 110-83 on Sunday afternoon.
Tarleton State entered the poll this week at No. 23 after picking up two huge road wins in LSC play last week. The Texans dominated Cameron 86-48 last Thursday before beating rival MSU Texas 70-65 last Saturday. The Texans are 12-2 on the season and currently own a six-game winning streak.
Texas A&M-Commerce also entered the poll this week as they are No. 24 after picking up two road wins in LSC action last week. The Lions defeated MSU Texas 78-64 last Thursday before beating Cameron 97-80 last Saturday. The Lions are 12-2 on the season and have a seven-game win streak that will be put to the test Thursday against Tarleton State.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Brennen Fowler, Lubbock Christian, Forward, Sr., Smyer, Texas
Lubbock Christian senior Brennen Fowler set a new Chaparral single-game scoring record against Randall University, dropping in 47 points on 18-of-22 shooting. He was a perfect 11-of-11 in the first half, including one three-pointer, posting just the fifth 40-point game in LCU men’s basketball history. He was dominant on the glass as well, grabbing 15 rebounds to mark his sixth double-double of the year. On defense, the Smyer native recorded four blocks and a pair of steals. The 47 points was tied for the third highest single scoring game by a Heartland player in conference history. This is Fowler’s fourth weekly award this season.
Lone Star Conference:
Xavier Ledet, UT Permian Basin, SR, Business Management, Guard, Lafayette, La., Ovey Comeaux High School
Ledet led a group of four Falcons averaging double figures in points this past week as the Falcons fell 83-82 to No. 13 West Texas A&M and rebounded with a 95-81 win against Eastern New Mexico. Ledet averaged a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the pair of games. He scored 18 points with 12 rebounds in the loss to the Buffs and led the Falcons with 20 points and eight rebounds in the win over the Greyhounds. He shot 78.9 percent from the field on the week, hitting 15-19 field goals, was 2-4 from 3-point range and was 6-7 from the free throw line.
Josh Hawley, Tarleton State University, SR, Kinesiology, Forward, Irving, Texas, Irving MacArthur
Hawley helped lead Tarleton to a 2-0 weekend with LSC road wins over Cameron and MSU Texas. Hawley was efficient on both ends of the floor, but specifically on the defensive end. In addition to his team-leading 16 points per game, Hawley averaged a team-high 7.5 rebounds to go with 2.5 assists, 1.5 blocks and 3.5 steals. The LSC leader in scoring and rebounding scored 21 points – his fifth straight 20-point game – and grabbed eight rebounds in an 86-48 rout over Cameron. The senior from Irving added three blocks and three steals in the win. Hawley and the Texan defense held Cameron to 27 percent shooting. The 48 points allowed is the lowest all season for the Texans. It’s also the lowest total Tarleton has held Cameron to in Aggie Gym in program history and is the largest margin of victory in the 39-game series history. Against MSU Texas, Hawley followed with 11 points, seven rebounds, and four steals to down the Mustangs, 70-65. Tarleton held MSU Texas to 39 percent shooting and Hawley helped the Texans outscore the Mustangs 44-20 in the paint. It’s the sixth straight win for Tarleton over MSU Texas, the longest streak in team history for the rivalry.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE:
Angelo State – Won vs Dallas Christian 115-54; Won at Texas A&M-Kingsville 75-65
Dallas Baptist – Won vs Daemen 87-80
Lubbock Christian – Won vs Randall 104-98
Midwestern State – Lost vs Texas A&M-Commerce 78-64; Lost vs Tarleton State 70-65
St. Edward’s – Won vs Paul Quinn 116-57; Won vs Daemen 110-83
St. Mary’s – Did not play last week.
Tarleton State – Won at Cameron 86-48; Won at MSU Texas 70-65
Texas A&M-Commerce – Won at MSU Texas 78-64; Won at Cameron 97-80
Texas A&M International – Did not play last week.
Texas A&M-Kingsville – Lost vs Angelo State 75-65
UT Permian Basin – Lost vs No. 13 West Texas A&M 83-82; Won vs Eastern New Mexico 95-81
West Texas A&M – Won at UT Permian Basin 83-82; Won at Western New Mexico 72-55
GAMES TO WATCH:
Tarleton State at Texas A&M-Commerce Thursday at 6 p.m.
Dallas Baptist at St. Edward’s Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
West Texas A&M at Angelo State Saturday at 4 p.m.
Rogers State at Dallas Baptist Saturday at 2 p.m.
Eastern New Mexico at Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday at 4 p.m.
TEAM TO WATCH:
Concordia Texas has won three straight games after getting off to a rough start to begin the season. After starting the season 3-9, the Tornados ended the 10-game winning streak of Louisiana College with a 65-53 win last Thursday on the road in Pineville, La. The Tornados followed that victory with a 101-91 win last Saturday. Concordia Texas will begin a tough three-game American Southwest Conference stretch this week as they host McMurry on Thursday and Hardin-Simmons on Saturday.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
American Southwest Conference:
EAST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Dimitrius Underwood, Jr., G, UT Dallas
UT Dallas junior guard Dimitrius Underwood (Mesquite, Texas) averaged 25.3 points and 10.7 rebounds as the Comets went 3-0 over the holiday break. He opened the break with 22 points and eight boards in an 82-58 home win over Austin, then recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 28 points and a season-high 15 rebounds while going 16-of-19 at the free throw line in a 91-80 road win at Southwestern Assemblies of God. Underwood ended the holidays with 26 points and nine rebounds during an 89-62 road conference victory at McMurry for his third Player of the Week of the season and seventh of his career.
WEST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Joe Neal, Sr., G, Concordia Texas
Concordia Texas senior guard Joe Neal (Houston, Texas) averaged 24.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game as the Tornados went 4-1 over the holidays. In a 103-96 win over Covenant, Neal recorded a double-double, tying a career-high with 34 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out five assists. He followed with 13 points and 11 rebounds in a 65-53 road win at Louisiana College. Neal finished the break with 31 points, including 24 in the second half, in a 101-91 come-from-behind victory at Belhaven for his fourth career Player of the Week honors.
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference:
BRANDON ALEXANDER OF SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, a junior forward from Inez, Texas, has been named the SCAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for games played from Monday, December 17 through Sunday, January 6.
Alexander was outstanding helping to guide Southwestern to its first 4-0 start in SCAC play since the 2004-05 season. In two league victories over the holiday break, Alexander averaged 20 points per game on 48.3 percent shooting, including a season-high 27 points in a win over Centenary. Overall, Alexander averaged 18.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the holiday reporting period.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE:
Austin College – Lost at JWU (Denver 95-88; Won at Colorado College 80-73
Concordia Texas – Won vs Covenant (Ga.) 103-96; Won at Louisiana College 65-53; Won at Belhaven 101-91
Dallas – Won vs Trinity 73-64
East Texas Baptist – Won vs McMurry 86-69; Lost vs Hardin-Simmons 83-76
Hardin-Simmons – Won at LeTourneau 98-95; Won at East Texas Baptist 83-76
Howard Payne – Lost at Ozarks 73-61; Won at UT Tyler 87-75
LeTourneau – Lost vs Hardin-Simmons 98-95; Won vs McMurry 87-73
Mary Hardin-Baylor – Lost at Belhaven 97-91; Lost at Louisiana College 125-121 3OT
McMurry – Lost vs UT Dallas 89-62; Lost at East Texas Baptist 86-69; Lost at LeTourneau 87-73
Schreiner – Lost at Southwestern 68-65
Southwestern (Tex.) – Won vs Schreiner 68-65
Sul Ross State – Won at Trinity 82-72; Lost at UT Tyler 89-79; Won at Ozarks 82-73
Texas Lutheran – Lost at Sam Houston State 84-54 (Exhibition); Won at Trinity 64-54
Trinity (Tex.) – Lost vs Sul Ross State 82-72; Lost at Dallas 73-64; Lost vs Texas Lutheran 64-54
UT Dallas – Won at McMurry 89-62
UT Tyler – Won vs Sul Ross State 89-79; Lost vs Howard Payne 87-75 OT
GAMES TO WATCH:
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Southwestern (Tex.) at Austin College Friday at 8 p.m.
LeTourneau at UT Dallas Saturday at 3 p.m.
Hardin-Simmons at Concordia Texas Saturday at 3 p.m.
Texas Lutheran at Austin College Saturday at 6 p.m.
Cory Hogue is Dave Campbell's Texas Basketball small college correspondent follow him on Twitter at @HoagieSports and be sure to visit his website (linked below) for more coverage of Division II and Division III collegiate athletics.