FRISCO - - The Lone Star Conference tournament championship game turned into a classic as Brandon Hall and West Texas A&M hung on to win 57-55 over Texas A&M-Commerce at the Comerica Center on Sunday afternoon.
West Texas A&M secures an automatic bid to the NCAA DII South Central Regional next weekend and will find out if they will host when the selection show airs at 9:30 p.m. Sunday night on NCAA.com.
West Texas A&M won their league leading eighth LSC tournament title today.
“I rank this game as one of our best that we’ve had this season because it was a big moment,” said West Texas A&M head coach Tom Brown. “This was to host a regional and hopefully we get to do that.”
The Buffs jumped out to an 18-3 lead in the first six minutes of the game. The Lions would battle back the rest of the half and finish the half on a 14-2 run to close within 31-26 heading to the locker room.
The second half would be nip and tuck the entire way as Texas A&M-Commerce took their first lead of the game 43-40 when Austin Grandstaff would hit a three-point attempt.
LSC tournament Most Valuable Player Brandon Hall would answer with the game’s next 10 points to give the Buffs a 50-43 lead with 8:51 remaining.
The Lions were not done yet as they fought back and took the lead again 53-52 with 1:55 remaining in the game when Reggie Reid hit another three-point shot for the Lions.
Hall would again answer back with layup, but the Lions’ Willie Rooks would answer with a layup on the other end to give the Lions a 55-54 lead with 1:20 left in the game.
Freshman Joel Murray would answer with a layup and a free throw on the Buffs next two possessions before Rooks’ final attempt to win the game at the buzzer fell short.
Brandon Hall scored a game high 32 points and finished the double-double with 10 rebounds. Hall made 11 of his 17 field goal attempts and the rest of the West Texas A&M team combined for only 10-of-42 from the field.
“Since I was a little kid, I’ve always dreamed of playing in moments like this,” said Hall of his motivation during the game. “To have the chance to actually do it is awesome. I want to thank the coaching staff for taking a chance on me.”
Joel Murray also scored in double figures as he finished with 10 points for the Buffs.
Willie Rooks and Trey Conrod both were named to the LSC tournament team and each recorded a double-double for Texas A&M-Commerce as Rooks scored 19 points and secured 10 rebounds while Conrod scored 13 points and secured 11 rebounds.
Rooks has recorded a triple-double in the semifinals on Saturday after having a poor performance by his standards in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
“I just watch film and learned from the mistakes I was making in the game. I wasn’t being aggressive, and my body language wasn’t good,” Rooks said about his adjustments after the quarterfinals. “I want to give credit to my teammates and my coaches for believing in me,” said Rooks.
Texas A&M-Commerce is almost certain to earn an at-large bid.
Texas A&M-Commerce head coach Jaret Von Rosenberg talked about what he is looking forward to heading into the South Central Regional next weekend.
“Just an opportunity to play,” said Von Rosenberg. “What I love about the LSC tournament is that you have the same format that we’ll see next weekend in the regional.”