West Texas A&M looks to roll into Christmas with brightness over the next two days as the team hopes for wins in two basketball games.
The No. 12 Buffs hit the road today in Las Vegas, opening a stretch of two games in two days before heading off on Christmas break.
West Texas (9-1) meets the Southern Indiana Eagles (7-2) at 4 p.m. today at Doolittle Community Center, then Tuesday meet Rollins College (8-3) at 2 p.m. in Doolittle CC.
The Buffs are coming off a nine-day break after handing Lubbock Christian an 82-72 defeat in its last game Dec. 9 in the First United Bank Center.
In that game, WT senior guard David Chavlovich reached 2,000 career points, the first Buff in school history to eclipse the elite barrier.
Chavlovich will be on the minds of Southern Indiana defenders today as he leads the Lone Star Conference in scoring at 23.8 points an outing.
However, as Chavlovich points out, the Buffs’ high-powered offense ranked No. 9 in the nation by averaging 90.2 points per game isn’t all about him.
“All the teams I have played on at West Texas have been special,” Chavlovich said. “But this one has something different, and there are so many good players that can score.
“It’s somebody different every night. I really believe we have a chance to win a national championship if we go out and play like we can.”
Joining Chavlovich for double figures for the Buffs are senior guard Jordan Evans at 17.3 per game, junior forward Ryan Quaid at 15.8 per game, and 6-foot-7 freshman Gaige Prim at 10.7.
“We have guys who can get it going in a hurry,” said Quaid, who is one of those guys averaging a double-double on the season with his 10.6 rebounds a game. “That’s one thing I really like about this team. Now, Chav is incredible. If you know a better Division II basketball player all-time, you can let me know.
“What we want to do in Vegas is get after it and not be lazy about it.”
West Texas head coach Tom Brown said games like this are important for the Buffs to maintain regional respect and continue the momentum built from the impressive 9-1 start.
“These are big for us,” Brown said. “This isn’t a vacation we are going on. We need to win these two games, and that’s going to take continued improvement on the defensive end and guys stepping up from our bench.”
Buff Stuff: WT has played Southern Indiana one time before in the consolation bracket of the NCAA Tournament on March 17, 1990. WT won 98-93 in overtime, and two Texas Panhandle athletes had a hand in the win with Tulia’s Fred Rike leading the Buffs with 19 points, while Caprock High’s Troy Fry (current volleyball coach at Sanford-Fritch) added 10 rebounds. … After the Vegas trip, WT returns home Dec. 30 to host Northern New Mexico.
Today’s probable starters
West Texas A&M Buffs
Overall Record: 9-1
Lone Star Conference record: 2-1
Head coach: Tom Brown (4th year)
Lone Star Conference men’s standings
UT Permian Basin3-08-1
West Texas A&M2-19-1
Eastern New Mexico0-44-7
Western New Mexico0-42-10