Texas Border Business
HOUSTON – In their first game in three weeks, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball team fell to the Texas Southern University Tigers 77-75 on Saturday at H&PE Arena.
This game, which was scheduled about 31 hours prior to tip-off, is the start of a home-and-home series as Texas Southern will visit UTRGV during the 2021-22 season.
Junior LaQuan Butler led the Vaqueros (8-4) with 15 points with three rebounds. Junior Malik Lawrence-Anderson scored a career-high 13 points with three rebounds. Junior Sean Rhea scored 10 points with seven rebounds. Senior Javon Levi scored 10 points with six rebounds, seven assists and three steals Junior Marek Nelson also scored 10 points.
Galen Alexander led the Tigers (6-7) with 26 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Karl Nicholasscored 16 points with three blocks. Chris Baldwin finished with 10 points.
The Tigers jumped out to leads of 9-2 and 12-4. Sophomore Quinton Johnson II and Levi answered with back-to-back threes as part of an 8-0 run to tie the game.
The Tigers scored the next seven points, but with the score 22-15, the Vaqueros went on a 7-2 run, capped by Lawrence-Anderson’s first-career three-pointer, to pull within 24-22.
The Vaqueros kept the game close, then, with 1:30 left in the first half, junior Uche Dibiamaka made a three to tie the game at 38. One basket later, Lawrence-Anderson and Butler made consecutive layups to give the Vaqueros their first lead at 42-40.
The score was tied at 44 early in the second half when a Rhea dunk sparked a 7-0 run to give the Vaqueros their largest lead at 51-44.
The Tigers responded with an 11-2 run to regain the lead, but Butler immediately hit a jumper to tie the game at 55. He then followed with a three to put the Vaqueros back on top.
The Tigers came back to tie the game at 67 before a Levi jumper gave the Vaqueros the lead.
Then, with the Vaqueros down 71-69, Nelson buried a three to put the Vaqueros on top, but the Tigers scored the next four points to take the lead.
Nelson made a jumper and Levi hit a free throw to tie the game at 75 with 30 seconds remaining. In the final second, however, Baldwin made a layup to send the Tigers to victory.
UTRGV resumes Western Athletic Conference play on Friday at 8 p.m. at California Baptist. Fans can also watch for free online at WACDigitalNetwork.com.