Buffaloes finish basketball season by making WTAMU history


Emily Merrill

Qua Grant and Zach Toussaint being interviewed after amazing buzzer beater game winner.

The West Texas A&M University men’s basketball team finished their 2020-2021 season as the runner-up of the Division II NCAA tournament and made WTAMU school history.

The Buffs traveled to Evansville, Indiana to compete in the Elite Eight and NCAA tournament after winning the South Central Regionals.

On March 24, 2021, the Daemen College Wildcats out of New York were The Buff’s first competitors, and just couldn’t keep up. The Buffaloes came out on a roll with three-point shots right off the bat. With an incredible first half of the game, the Buffs lead 56-32 and junior guard Joel Murray at the top of the scoreboard. There was good sportsmanship throughout this game by both teams, and the Buffs got that victory over the Wildcats thanks to their huge lead in the first half. The game ended 97-83 and the Buffs moved on to the Final Four.

The next day, the Buffs faced Lincoln Memorial University in the Final Four. This game didn’t start out the smoothest with the shooting game a little off. The boys weren’t going to let up after a halftime score of 44-35 Lincoln Memorial. The Buffs came ready to fight the second half, catching up and playing cat and mouse with Lincoln Memorial for a bit. The win literally came down to the last second. As WTAMU was down by two points with the ball in possession, a missed layup was shot out to the three point line and caught by sophomore guard Zach Toussaint. Toussaint fired from the three point line at the last second and scored, ending the score 87-86 sending The Buffaloes to the NCAA DII Championship.

“I remember the ball going through the net then I closed my eyes and the next thing I saw was a bunch of bodies on top of me,” Toussaint said.

The NCAA DII Championship took place on Saturday March 27, 2021 against the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats. NMS has had a history with the NCAA DII Championship, having taken home the title in 2017, 2019 and being ranked No. 1 in 2020. The Buffaloes took home the runner-up title with a final score of the championship being 69-37 NMS.

Making the Elite Eight was impressive enough, but continuing on to the championship was icing on the cake. WTAMU made their debut in the 2017-2018 season qualifying for the Elite Eight of the NCAA DII Tournament and keeping the tradition going. Although COVID-19 took the last part of the 2019-2020 season, The Buffaloes finished as ranked No. 3.

There is no doubt that this program is successful and thriving. To take home not only conference titles, but national titles, is a huge accomplishment in itself let alone doing it for years on end. Now the 2020-2021 men’s basketball team has made WTAMU school history and doesn’t plan on ending the success.

“We’re resting right now, but we plan to get back to practice and work hard,” said junior guard Qua Grant.