Texas Border Business
BROOKINGS, S.D. – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball team came back from down 17 to pull within two before ultimately falling to the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits 70-57 in the season opener on Tuesday at Frost Arena.
Junior Javon Levi led the Vaqueros (0-1) with 18 points, three rebounds, and four steals. Junior Chris Freeman scored 10 points with four rebounds and one steal in his UTRGV debut. Senior Lesley Varner II finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks.
Douglas Wilson led the Jackrabbits (1-0) with 24 points. Matt Dentlinger scored 17 points with 14 rebounds. Brandon Key finished with 15 points and six assists.
The Vaqueros trailed 32-15 with 4:42 remaining in the first half. Levi responded with three-straight layups. Then, after a Varner layup, Levi stole the ensuing inbound pass and hit a jumper. Junior Rob McClainfollowed with a layup to give the Vaqueros 12-straight points.
After a Key free throw, sophomore Uche Dibiamaka made a pair of free throws and Levi knocked down a layup after a McClain block to cap the 16-1 run with the Vaqueros within 33-31 in the final minute of the first half.
The Jacks opened the second half on a 9-2 run to go up 44-34. A Levi three-point play and a Freeman three helped the Vaqueros to pull within 46-40. The Vaqueros pulled within six twice more, including 60-54 on a Levi three that made the score 60-54 with 2:33 remaining, but that’s as close as they got.
The Vaqueros play their home opener on Monday at 7 p.m. against Howard Payne during Hoops for Troops and Alumni Night at the UTRGV Fieldhouse. UTRGV Athletics would like to thank veterans and active-duty military for their service by offering them free general admission. Accompanying guests can purchase $3 tickets. UTRGV, UTPA and UTB alumni and their accompanying guests can purchase $5 general admission tickets or $9 combos (including a ticket, a hot dog, and a drink) with a valid email. For more information, contact the UTRGV Alumni Relations office at (956) 665-2500 or [email protected] Current UTRGV students get free general admission with a valid UTRGV student ID. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at UTRGVTickets.com. Fans purchasing their tickets online prior to game day can save up to $2 per ticket. Doors open at 6.