Varner’s 18-0 run propels UTRGV Men’s Basketball to third-straight win

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Texas Border Business

CHICAGO – Senior Lesley Varner II scored 18-straight points during a 20-0 run to propel TheUniversity of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball to its third-straight win, 75-64 over the Chicago State University Cougars on Saturday at Jones Convocation Center to complete the season sweep.

Varner led the Vaqueros (9-14, 5-5 WAC) with 23 points and four rebounds. Graduate student Jordan Jackson scored 14 points with four rebounds. Junior Javon Levi scored 10 points with eight assists and two steals. Freshman Quinton Johnson II finished with 10 points as well.

Andrew Lewis led the Cougars (4-21, 0-10 WAC) with 22 points. Xavier Johnson scored 13 points with four assists. Rajeir Jones finished with 11 points and four rebounds.

The Vaqueros trailed 40-34 with 14:18 remaining. Jackson made a layup 10 seconds later and then Varner exploded, scoring 18-straight points by making three-straight three-pointers, two free throws, a layup, another three, and two more free throws to put the Vaqueros up 54-40.

The Cougars cut the lead to nine with eight minutes left, but Levi responded with a three to spark a 9-3 run to put the Vaqueros up 65-50 and push the game out of reach.

The Cougars led by as much as 11, going up 24-13 in the opening 16 and a half minutes.

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The Vaqueros still trailed by 10 early in the second half when Johnson hit a three and a jumper as part of an 8-0 run to bring the Vaqueros within 34-32.

The Vaqueros outscored the Cougars 54-33 in the second half, shooting 66.7 percent (14-for-21) from the field, including 87.5 percent (7-for-8) from behind the arc.

UTRGV returns home on Thursday at 7 p.m. for the Battle of the Colleges during a matchup against Utah Valley. Deans from different colleges across campus, along with students from their colleges, will compete in a halftime free-throw shooting competition. The winner receives a trophy. There will also be a spirit competition among the colleges with a second trophy at stake.

Thursday is also Faculty & Staff Appreciation Night. UTRGV Athletics is offering two free general admission tickets for each faculty or staff member with a UTRGV employee ID.

After the game, fans can make their way to the fieldhouse parking lot for the annual burning of the letters, hosted by Campus Programming Board.

If UTRGV wins, fans can take home a buy one, get one free Raising Cane’s box combo coupon.

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.

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