Buffs pull away from Mines in opening game of NCAA tourney


Tran Nguyen

PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAN NGUYEN The Buff basketball team honors David Chavlovich after becoming the conference’s all-time leading scorer after the game against Colorado School of Mines on March 10 at the First United Bank Center.

Austin Heinen, Former Associate Editor

West Texas A&M (29-3) played their first south central regional tournament game against Colorado School of Mines (22-9), the team who took them out of last year’s tournament. The Buffaloes, this time were victorious on their home floor, 79-65.

Playing in front of nearly 1,300 fans at their friendly confines of the First United Bank Center, the 11th-ranked Buffs used a strong second half, where WT shot 61% behind the arc, to pull away from the Orediggers. Head coach Tom Brown says it’s great to start strong and get the first tournament win out of the way.

“It’s the NCAA march madness, it’s a lot of fun but there’s a little pressure on you are the one in that first game,” Brown said. “Now, you kind of play a little bit more loose, it’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow night against whoever we play, but it can be tough.”

Senior guard David Chavlovich tallied a game high 27 points which is more than enough to make him the Lone Star Conference all-time leading scorer. The senior also had five assists, two rebounds, a block and steal. Chav says he’s happy to hold the record but also says his surroundings made it easy for him.

“First of all, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my lord and savior Jesus Christ, he allows me play. “Chavlovich said. “With these coaches and teammates, it came easy honestly. These guys are amazing.”

One of the teammates Chavlovich especially praised was senior guard Jordan Evans, who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists against Mines. Evans went into the half shooting only one-for-four and with just two points. Evans then came out of the halftime break and went three-for-four behind the arc in the second half. 

“Just moving without the ball and being better on the defensive end,” Evans said. “Then spreading the floor and allowing this man (Chavlovich) to do his work, and finding flow in the offense.”

WT will now play conference foe Texas A&M-Commerce for the fourth time this season in the second round. The winner will move on to the sweet 16. Coach Brown says the team has to, and will stick to their basic on and off the court.

“We talked about it in the locker room,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of friends and family, they want to go out and take you to dinner, take you to Amarillo. No. We are going to get our normal routine and be ready to go tomorrow at 7:30 pm. So, hopefully we will have that focus because this means a lot to our seniors and I hope the rest of the guys understand that we made that point.”

NCAA Men’s South Central Region scoreboard (in bracket order)

No. 1 West Texas A&M 79, No. 8 Colorado School of Mines 65

No. 5 Texas A&M-Commerce 78, No. 4 Ark.-Fort Lewisville 62

No. 3 Regis 87, No. 6 Dallas Baptist 82

No. 2 UTPB 87, No. 7 Ark.-Fort Smith 69

Sunday’s Semifinals

No. 1 West Texas A&M vs. No. 5 Texas A&M-Commerce; 7:30 p.m.

No. 3 Regis (CO) vs. No. 2 UTPB; 5 p.m.