No. 13 Buffs edge UTPB to claim first LSC tournament championship since 2006

FRISCO — West Texas A&M coach Tom Brown and the Buffs are history makers after earning an intense 80-76 win against rival UT Permian Basin in the Lone Star Conference tournament championship game on Sunday afternoon in front of 916 electric fans at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco.


This was the third encounter between the two top teams in the LSC as well as the top two scoring teams in the league didn’t disappoint.

Fans didn’t see the high-octane game in the 100’s they expected, yet saw more of a physical slug fest between two heavy weight champions.

The win will put the Buffs (27-3) at home for the NCAA Division II tournament as the top-seed of the South Central Regional.

Get set to see the Falcons (24-6) in Canyon as well.

It was only fitting that the Arlington native, four-year starter and the school’s all-time leading scorer David Chavlovich took the game in his hands down the stretch.

WT was trailing 71-70 with 1:18 to play when Chavlovich made a knife down the lane and made a layup, giving the Buffs a 72-71 advantage.

A few possessions later, it was Chavlovich time to shine again when he buried a 3-point bucket over Falcon defender Renard Thomas extending the lead, 77-73 with 22 seconds remaining.

“The coaches always want the ball in my hands down the stretch,” said Chavlovich, who had six points in the final 1:25. “I’m confident that I’m going to go shoot it like I’m in the gym by myself. It was great to do this in front of my family and friends here. Some haven’t seen me play since high school.”

Chavlovich finished the night with 21 points, earning tournament MVP honors. Chavlovich also inched closer to the LSC scoring record set by Nate Granger (1973-1977) of East Texas State. Chavlovich needs seven points (2,374) to break Granger’s record of 2,380.

“It means a lot,” said Chavlovich, who also had nine rebounds in the win. “More importantly it means we get to host a regional and play toward our goal of a national championship. That’s what I came here for. I think we have a great chance to get there.”

UTPB had a great look in the final 10 seconds for a chance to tie and force overtime. With WT leading 78-76 and five seconds to play, Falcons guard James McPherson drove the lane, shooting a running layup over WT’s Gaige Prim, however, the lay in went in and out and Buff guard Gach Gach came down with the rebound with 2.7 seconds to play.

Gach was immediately fouled, hitting both free-throws on the other end to seal WT’s first LSC title since 2006 and the seventh in program history.

“I want to thank the seniors that have came to WT with us four years ago,” said Brown, who is 92-34 in four years. “To trust us as a coaching staff. Anytime you sign a player you have high hopes. But these seniors like David (Chavlovich), Jordan Evans, Tommy Gove and Rylan Gerber have exceeded our expectations.”

The Falcons were physically superior through most of the game. UTPB out rebounded the Buffs 48-24 while outscoring WT 48-22 in the paint. UTPB had double-digit leads in the first and second half and led for 29 minutes of the contest.

However, the never say die Buffs, rallied time and time again. Down 60-51 midway through the second half, Jordan Evans sparked a 12-2 run. Evans, who had six first half points, scored 15 in the second to total 21 on the night.

“It was a physical game in the trenches,” UTPB coach Andy Newman said. “The game was in our control and we made defensive mistakes that we’ve made all season. To see it happen again was frustrating. We had some mental lapses we usually don’t make.”

Gach pulled down nine boards and Jordan Evans was 5-of-12 from beyond the arc.

“They put it on us a little bit in the second half,” Brown said. “But we stuck to our plan and had good compsure. We had good seniors on the floor and that made a difference. It was a calming effect for us as coaches. Jordan Evans knocked down a 3-ball and got to the bucket. Gach Gach is as tough as a competitor as they come.”

UTPB’s Sammy Allen and Daeshon Francis each had double-doubles before fouling out.

Allen scored 19 points with 17 rebounds while Francis added 18 points and 10 boards.

Francis also became the Falcons all-time leading scorer with 1,211 career points.

WT 80, UTPB 76

UTPB (24-6): James McPherson 3-12, 0-0 8, Amari Bryant 1-3 0-0 2, Daeshon Francis 6-15 6-7 18, Sammy Allen 6-15 5-7, Josh Morris 4-6 0-0 8, Garrett Baggett 0-1 0-0 0, Andres Villa 4-4 0-3 1, Renard Thomas 0-1 1-2 1, Zeldric King 4-5 4-5 13. Totals: 28-62 16-24 76.

West Texas A&M (27-3): David Chavlovich 6-19 7-10 21, CJ Jennings 1-4 4-4 7, Jordan Evans 7-14 2-2 21, Gach Gach 1-7 2-4 5, Ryan Quaid 3-5 2-2 8, Drew Evans 3-6 0-2 7, Jordan Collins 1-3 0-0 3, Rylan Gerber 0-1 0-0 0, Gaige Prim 3-6 2-2 8. Totals: 25-65 19-26 80.

UT Permian Basin;36;40 — 76

West Texas A&M33;47 — 80

3-point goals: UTPB: 4-14 (McPherson 2-7, Bryant 1-3, King 1-2). WT 11-37 (Chavlovich 2-8, Jennings 1-3, Evans 5-12, Gach 1-6, D. Evans 1-3, Collins 1-3. Rebounds: 48 (Allen 19). WT: 32 (Chavlovich 9, Gach 9. Steals: 5 (Allen 2). WT: 7 (D. Evans 4). Blocks: UTPB 0. WT: 7 (D. Evans 4). Turnovers: 19 (Allen 4, Morris 4). WT: 10 (Quaid 3). Total Fouls: UTPB: 26. WT: 21. Fouled out: Francis, Allen, Morris, Quaid.Technicals: Francis, Baggett. Officials: Kerry Sitton, Darron George, Brad Fowler. Attendence 916.

Lone Star Conference Tournament

at Texas Woman’s University, Denton/ Dr Pepper Arena, Frisco

Friday’s quarterfinals

Tarleton State 63, Cameron 49

UT Permian Basin 82, Midwestern State 68

Texas A&M-Commerce 76, Angelo State 63

West Texas A&M 86, Eastern New Mexico 70

Saturday’s semifinals

UT Permian 83, Tarleton State 55

West Texas A&M 73, Texas A&M-Commerce 63

LSC championship

West Texas A&M 80, UT Permian Basin 76

Records: West Texas A&M improves to 28-3 overall. UT Permian Basin drops to 24-6.

Impact: The Buffs win their first LSC tournament championship since 2006.

Up Next: WT advances into the NCAA Division II tournament for a second straight season.