Buffs toughen past Falcons for first Elite Eight berth in 20 years

Austin Heinen, Co-Editor

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For the third consecutive time this season, the 11th-ranked West Texas A&M (31-3) Buffs topped 19th-ranked Texas-Permian Basin, this time, for the south central regional title. In front of 1,974 fans at the First United Bank Center, WT defeated the Falcons, 95-87.

With players like Daeshon Francis who won regular season LSC MVP and south central regular season MVP and others, head coach Tom Brown is really proud of this win but also how his team has played this season against a very talented UTPB team.

“This the fourth time playing UTPB and it’s been a battle everytime,” Brown said. “It was almost a backyard brawl here tonight. I give them a lot of credit, we were up 18 at halftime and they came out storming out and it was a ball game. I give our guys a lot of credit as well, we never gave in, we didn’t lose our composure.”

Senior guard David Chavlovich, who was name the tournament’s MVP, scored a team-high 28 points and also had six assists, two steals, and two rebounds. Though Chav says he is honored to win the MVP award, he is more thrilled with moving on to the elite eight.

“It’s a great honor and I thought I played well,” Chavlovich said. “But, south central regional champs is more important to me.”

Chavlovich went to say earning the south central regional title is nice, but he and the rest of the team still will not stay satisfied and look to go even further.

“We’re not satisfied with this,” Chavlovich said. “We want to keep winning ball games and win a national championship. South central regional champs is amazing, and not many people get that, but we know our capabilities. We feel like we have a great team and we can win it all.”

Senior guard Jordan Evans, who had 26 points, six rebounds, and had a block and steal, shares the same vision. As the two seniors and rest of team has said time and time again, “We are not done.”

Evans says to have the right to go to Sioux Falls, S.D. to keep hopes for a national title alive is gratifying.

“I’m glad we still have a shot,” Evans said. “That just always a mindset I have had, to win a championship. Coming out of high school I didn’t win much, I didn’t get a chance for a championship or anything. I’m glad coach (Brown) gave me the opportunity to come here and play.”

When you are one of the only eight teams remaining in all of division two basketball, it is always a great accomplishment. Coach Brown looks forward to the challenge in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“It should be fun to be in Sioux Falls,” Brown said. “It’s always a goal for every team. These regional championships this is the sixth one I’ve been in now as a staff coach. They are very emotional, you could see the emotion tonight. It’ll be like that at the elite eight, the final four, and hopefully the national championship, but it’s a three game tournament. You have to be able to win a game, but then advance.”     

WT will play Le Moyne (27-6) in their first game in Sioux Falls. The time has yet to be announced.


 

TOP EIGHT SEEDS

1 – Ferris State (35-1)
2 – Queens (NC) (31-3)
3 – Northern State (34-3)
4 – West Texas A&M (31-3)
5 – Le Moyne (27-6)
6 – East Stroudsburg (27-6)
7 – California Baptist (28-5)
8 – Barry (23-8)

Elite Eight schedule

Play begins Tuesday, March 20 at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Times are TBD

Ferris State vs. Barry – 3:30 p.m.

West Texas A&M vs. Le Moyne – 1 p.m.

Queens (NC) vs. California Baptist – 7 p.m.

Northern State vs. East Stroudsburg – 9:30 p.m.

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Buffs toughen past Falcons for first Elite Eight berth in 20 years