Texas Border Business
RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball team beat the 2019 Southland Conference Champion Sam Houston State Bearkats 90-86 in double overtime on Tuesday at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
Senior Lesley Varner II led the Vaqueros (3-5) with a career-high 33 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and a career-high tying five steals for his first double-double of the season. Graduate student Jordan Jackson scored 15 points with five rebounds and three assists. Junior Anthony Bratton scored a career-high 12 points with a career-high 14 rebounds (six offensive). Junior Javon Levi dished out a career-high tying 13 assists with seven points and two steals.
Zach Nutall led the Bearkats (4-4) with 22 points. Kai Mitchell scored 18 points with 19 rebounds and four blocks. Demarkus Lampley scored 13 points with five steals. Dainan Swoope scored 12 points with four steals. Terryonte Thomas finished with 11 points.
The Vaqueros trailed by as much as 12, going down 41-29 early in the second half. That’s when the Vaqueros went on a 16-4 run, powered by two Varner three-pointers, a Jackson three-pointer and a three-pointer by sophomore Uche Dibiamaka, to tie the game at 45.
The Vaqueros took their first lead with 8:55 remaining in the second half when a Jackson jumper made the score 55-54. The Bearkats went up 62-59 two and a half minutes later. Varner responded with a layup, a jumper and a three to put the Vaqueros up 66-63.
The Bearkats led 70-68 with time winding down, but a board and a dunk by Bratton tied the game at 70 and forced overtime.
The Bearkats went up 82-78 with 1:31 left in the first overtime, but Jackson and Varner drew fouls and hit their free throws to force a second overtime.
Varner and Bratton started the second overtime with layups to go up 86-82. Mitchell responded with back-to-back layups to tie the game, but Jackson hit two more free throws and Varner sunk another pair to put the game on ice.
UTRGV is back in action on Friday at 7 p.m. against Mid-American Christian University at the UTRGV Fieldhouse. UTRGV students can enjoy free hot chocolate while supplies last, courtesy of the UTRGV Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. 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. The party starts at Vaquero Village at 5:30.