IN THE RANKINGS:
West Texas A&M moved up to No. 4 in this week’s NABC DII Coaches’ Poll as it extended its current winning streak to 10 games with two wins at home last week. The Buffs defeated Angelo State 89-69 on Thursday night. WT then avenged their last loss of the season with a thrilling 90-89 overtime win over Texas A&M-Kingsville. WT improved to 25-3 overall on the season and lead the Lone Star Conference with a 14-1 record.
St. Edward’s improved to No. 5 this week as it continued to roll with two home wins last week. The Hilltoppers defeated Rogers State 89-63 last Wednesday and won 86-65 over Arkansas-Fort Smith on Saturday afternoon. St. Edward's faces a huge challenge this weekend and travel to play Dallas Baptist at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Hilltoppers are tasked with trying to break the Patriots 37-game home winning streak. The Hilltoppers are 23-2 overall this season and continue to lead the Heartland Conference with a 12-1 record.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Dorian Lopez, St. Edward’s, Forward, Jr., San Antonio, Texas
St. Edward’s junior Dorian Lopez led the No. 4 Hilltoppers to a 2-0 week averaging 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in wins over Rogers State and UAFS. Lopez dropped a season-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor in the win over RSU. In the second game of the week, he nearly picked up a double-double scoring 16 points while pulling down eight rebounds for St. Edward’s. The junior was red hot shooting during the week hitting 60.9 percent of his shots from the field and 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from beyond the arc. Lopez added two blocks, two steals and four assists during the week. This is the second player of the week award this season for Lopez.
Lone Star Conference:
Qua Grant, West Texas A&M University, FR, Undeclared, Guard, Waxahachie, Texas, Waxahachie HS
Grant had another impressive weekend as No. 5 West Texas A&M extended its home winning streak to 22 games. The freshman guard averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 65.2 percent from the floor and 87.5 percent from the charity stripe. In Thursday’s 89-69 win over Angelo State, he scored a career-high 25 points going 10-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. In Saturday’s dramatic overtime win over Texas A&M-Kingsville, he scored 13 points with seven rebounds in 37 minutes of action.
Chukuka Emili, Eastern New Mexico University, SR, Business Management, Forward, New City, NY, Clarkston North HS
Emili continued to play well in the post for the Hounds in home wins over Texas A&M-Kingsville and Angelo State, averaging 8.0 rebounds and totaling eight blocks and three steals throughout the two games. Emili led the team with 14.0 points per game and made 10-of-12 free throw attempts in the two wins that extended the ENMU win streak to five games. Emili was instrumental in the Hound's defensive effort that held opponents to just 35.8 percent from field and vaulted the Hounds to a come-from-behind victory on Saturday afternoon against Angelo State after trailing 42-28 at halftime.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE:
Angelo State – Lost at West Texas A&M 89-69; Lost at Eastern New Mexico 83-71
Dallas Baptist – Won vs Lubbock Christian 80-77; Won vs Randall 77-66
Lubbock Christian – Lost at Dallas Baptist 80-77; Won at Rogers State 76-72
MSU Texas – Won at Western New Mexico 81-78; Lost at UT Permian Basin 80-61
St. Edward’s – Won vs Rogers State 89-63; Won vs Arkansas-Fort Smith 86-65;
St. Mary’s – Lost vs Newman 75-64; Won vs Oklahoma Christian 74-69
Tarleton State – Lost vs Texas A&M-Commerce 65-58
Texas A&M-Commerce – Won at Tarleton State 65-58
Texas A&M International – Lost vs Oklahoma Christian 89-64; Lost vs Newman 81-60
Texas A&M-Kingsville – Lost at Eastern New Mexico 76-72; Lost at West Texas A&M 90-89 OT
UT Permian Basin – Won vs Cameron 95-75; Won vs MSU Texas 80-61
West Texas A&M – Won vs Angelo State 89-69; Won vs Texas A&M-Kingsville 90-89 OT
GAMES TO WATCH:
Cameron at MSU Texas Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
West Texas A&M at Tarleton State Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Lubbock Christian at Newman Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
West Texas A&M at Texas A&M-Commerce Saturday at 4 p.m.
St. Edward’s at Dallas Baptist Saturday at 2 p.m.
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS SET TO BEGIN:
American Southwest Conference
The American Southwest Conference men's basketball tournament field is set to begin Feb. 21 with UT Dallas the host this year.
This tournament will be huge as the winner will receive the conference's automatic bid and most likely the only bid to the NCAA D3 tournament for the conference this season.
Mary Hardin-Baylor was the only ASC team mentioned in the South region rankings released last Wednesday. The Cru were the sixth ranked team with only eight teams receiving mention.
UT Dallas is the host and the top seed in the East Division as it's 21-4 overall this season and 13-3 in the ASC. LeTourneau (17-8, 11-5) received the second seed due to tiebreaker over third seed Louisiana College (19-6, 11-5). East Texas Baptist (12-13, 8-8) is the fourth seed from the East.
Mary Hardin-Baylor is the No. 1 seed in the West Division and are 20-5 overall and 11-5 in conference this season. Concordia Texas (12-13, 10-6) earned the second seed in a tiebreaker over third seed Hardin-Simmons (15-10, 10-6). McMurry (10-15, 7-9) will be the fourth seed from the West.
There will be a new champion this season as Sul Ross State failed to earn a spot in the tournament.
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament will begin on Friday, Feb. 22 with Southwestern earning the top seed.
Tie breakers were used to determine all six seeds as multiple teams finished with identical records.
JWU (Denver) finished the season with a 10-6 conference record but is ineligible for postseason play while the program transitions into NCAA D3.
Southwestern (14-11, 11-5) is the top seed while host Texas Lutheran (16-9, 11-5) earned the second seed. Centenary (La) (13-12, 10-6) will enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed with Schreiner (14-11, 10-6) earning the No. 4 seed. The final two teams are Dallas (9-16, 6-10) with the fifth seed and Trinity (6-19, 6-10) who is the sixth and final seed in the tournament.
Texas Lutheran University is the host of this year's men's and women's tournament. All games will take place at Memorial Gymnasium in Seguin, Texas.
The winner of the tournament will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA D3 tournament.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
American Southwest Conference:
CO-EAST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Hans Burwitz, Jr., C, UT Dallas
UT Dallas junior center Hans Burwitz (Allen, Texas) averaged 20.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as he lifted the Comets to a pair of ASC East road wins and the Comets’ first divisional title since 2013. In Thursday’s 89-88 win at LeTourneau, he scored a career-high 29 points on 13-of-20 shooting to officially give UTD the ASC East title. He added 11 rebounds, for his ninth double-double of the season, and four assists. Burwitz then scored 12 points and pulled down three boards in an 81-67 win at East Texas Baptist to claim his second Player of the Week award of the season.
CO-EAST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Nate West, Jr., G, LeTourneau
LeTourneau junior guard Nate West (Houston, Texas) earned his fifth Player of the Week honors of the season and eighth of his career by averaging 30.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game. In a 76-68 overtime win over East Texas Baptist, he scored a game-high 32 points, including 11 in the extra period. In a battle for the ASC East Division title against UT Dallas, West netted 26 of his 28 points in the second half and grabbed six rebounds in an 89-88 loss to the Comets.
CO-WEST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Brian Long, Sr., F, Mary Hardin-Baylor
Mary Hardin-Baylor senior forward Brian Long (San Bernardino, Calif.) poured in 26.5 points per game to lead the Cru, helping them clinch the ASC West Division title. He shot 72 percent (15-of-21) from the field and was 4-of-5 from three-point range. He scored 33 points in a 95-75 win over Sul Ross State and followed with 20 points on senior day in an 87-59 victory against Howard Payne. Long also averaged 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest for his second Player of the Week of the season and third of his career.
CO-WEST DIVISION PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Joe Neal, Sr., G, Concordia Texas
Concordia Texas senior guard Joe Neal (Houston, Texas) was named Player of the Week for the fourth time this season and seventh time in his career after averaging 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 5.0 steals per game, aiding the Tornados in a pair of wins to lock up the second seed in the ASC West. In a 94-66 victory over Howard Payne, Neal dropped 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting while adding six steals and six rebounds. He scored 28 points with nine boards in a 97-77 win against Sul Ross State to end the regular season.
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference:
JOEL MARTINEZ OF SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, a junior guard from El Paso, Texas., has been named the SCAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for games played from Monday, February 11 through Sunday, February 17.
Martinez entered the starting lineup on Feb. 9 against Trinity after Southwestern hit a three-game losing streak. The Pirates responded with four consecutive wins, including three last week, to clinch the No. 1 seed in the SCAC Tournament.
Needing a road win against Texas Lutheran to keep the Pirates in contention for the SCAC regular season title and shot at the top seed in the tournament, Martinez put together is strongest outing of the week, pouring in 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, collecting six rebounds and dishing out four assists to help secure a 10-point victory. He then followed that performance up with 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a crucial, 72-61, win over Centenary.
For the week, Martinez averaged 14 points on 60 percent shooting (15-of-25), 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game to lead the Pirates to a 3-0 record and a share of the SCAC regular season title.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE:
Austin College – Lost at Texas Lutheran 81-63; Lost at Southwestern 80-77
Concordia Texas – Won vs Howard Payne 94-66; Won vs Sul Ross State 97-77
Dallas – Lost at Schreiner 83-62; Lost at Trinity 68-55
East Texas Baptist – Lost at LeTourneau 76-68; Lost vs UT Dallas 81-67
Hardin-Simmons – Won at McMurry 89-69
Howard Payne – Lost at Concordia Texas 94-66; Lost at Mary Hardin-Baylor 87-59
LeTourneau – Won vs East Texas Baptist 76-68; Lost vs UT Dallas 89-88
Mary Hardin-Baylor – Won vs Sul Ross State 95-75; Won vs Mary Hardin-Baylor 87-59
McMurry – Lost vs Hardin-Simmons 89-69
Schreiner – Won vs Trinity 59-57; Won vs Dallas 83-62
Southwestern (Tex.) – Won at Texas Lutheran 93-83; Won vs Centenary (La) 72-61; Won vs Austin College 80-77
Sul Ross State – Lost at Mary Hardin-Baylor 95-75; Lost at Concordia Texas 97-77
Texas Lutheran – Lost vs Southwestern 93-83; Won vs Austin College 81-63; Lost vs Centenary (La) 73-65
Trinity (Tex.) – Lost at Schreiner 59-57; Won vs Dallas 68-55
UT Dallas – Won at LeTourneau 89-88; Won at East Texas Baptist 81-67
UT Tyler – Lost vs Belhaven 87-74; Lost vs Louisiana College 79-77
GAMES TO WATCH:
American Southwest Conference Championship Saturday at 6 p.m.
Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship Sunday at 2 p.m.
Cory Hogue is Dave Campbell's Texas Basketball small college correspondent follow him on Twitter at @LSSportsDaily and be sure to visit his website (linked below) for more coverage of Division II and Division III collegiate athletics.