Jacks, Aggies Stay Hot, CBU Goes Old School and More from Thursday

Gavin Kensmil and SFA stayed red hot in WAC play with another win on Thursday night. Photo by Evan Luecke

Getting hot and staying hot at the right time is essential in college basketball. This is especially true of a one-bid league where playing your best basketball in March is of the utmost importance. And on another busy Thursday night of WAC Hoops, two teams stayed hot. Another team went old school and got back to its method of winning games. And, another team held on to snap a two-game losing skid after starting WAC play with eight straight wins.

Three road teams on Thursday. SFA stayed hot. New Mexico State stayed hot. And Grand Canyon won its third straight, staying hot in the race for WAC Vegas.

Tre Armstrong and CBU decided to throw up a bunch of 3-pointers. And it was hot inside the CBU Events Center in the Lancers first win in nearly a month. At Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle held on for dear life to snap its two-game losing skid.

Let’s take a look at each of the other four games from Thursday night.

SFA 81, Chicago State 61

If you have listened to recent podcasts, you don’t realize that this team is dangerous. Since Nigel Hawkins has returned from injury, the Jacks have been red hot. In fact, in three of the last four wins, SFA has scored 81 points. Three of the wins have been by double digits. And we are finally seeing the SFA team that many thought we would see prior to the 2021-22 season beginning.

On Thursday night at the Jones Convocation Center, SFA made it known how hot it is. The Jacks shot 48 percent from the floor and turned a nine-point halftime lead into a 20-point win. 9 Jacks scored in the win led by Gavin Kensmil’s 19 points. SFA forced 20 turnovers and held Chicago State to 38 percent shooting.

SFA has now won four straight to improve to 16=8 overall and 8-4 in WAC play. Chicago State dropped to 6-18 overall and 2-9 in WAC play. These two teams meet again on Wednesday in Nacogdoches.

New Mexico State 77, Dixie State 69

The temperature inside the Burns Arena was hot on Thursday night. And New Mexico State continued its winning ways. But it didn’t come easy for the Aggies. Despite shooting 52 percent from the field and 53 percent from 3-point land, the Aggies had to hold off pesky Dixie State late to secure their 20th win.

Teddy Allen had 20 points in the win. Jabari Rice had a double double. Johnny McCants had 13 points in his first game after becoming a father. And Clayton Henry chipped in 12 points. But the Aggies were never able to really pull away from the Trailblazers on Thursday night. Frank Staine, Dancell Leter and Hunter Schofield kept Dixie State in the contest but ultimately the comeback fell a bit short.

New Mexico State is 20-3 overall and 9-1 in WAC play. Dixie State is 11-13 overall and 4-7 in WAC play. The Aggies head North to take on Utah Valley on Saturday. Dixie State hosts Grand Canyon on Saturday.

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Johnny McCants had 13 points on Thursday night as New Mexico State stayed hot at the Burns Arena. Courtesy NMSU Athletics.

California Baptist 83, Lamar 61

The Lancers went old school in a red hot CBU Events Center on Thursday night. Lamar came out playing zone defense, daring CBU to hit the outside shot. Well, Tre Armstrong and company did just that. CBU hit 10 3-pointers in the first half, hit five more in the second half and cruised to their first win since Jan. 20.

Tre Armstrong hit six of the 15 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 25 points while also pulling down 10 rebounds. Ty Rowell also had 18 points for the Lancers who shot 50 percent from the floor and 39 percent from 3-point land.

The Lancers improve to 13-11 overall and 3-8 in WAC play. Lamar has now lost 14 straight games and remains winless in WAC play.

Seattle 67, UTRGV 59

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Cameron Tyson and Seattle U held off UTRGV on Thursday night at Climate Pledge Arena. Courtesy Seattle U Athletics.

In a game that Seattle U play-by-play voice Russell Brown called sloppy, Seattle got back in the win column. The Redhawks shot just 33 percent from the field, hit just three 3-pointers in the win and only one of the big three finished in double figures as Cameron Tyson finished with a team-high 13 points. Had it not been for seven straight points from Tyson late in the second half, the Redhawks might not have won the game. But, a win is a win. And Seattle keeps pace with New Mexico State for the regular season crown and the 1-2 seed at WAC Vegas.

UTRGV battled led by Justin Johnson’s game-high 19 points. But the Vaqueros couldn’t get the stop when they needed to in the second half. Good news for UTRGV is that Donte Houston was back in the lineup and they have missed his size.

Seattle improves to 18-6 overall and 9-2 in WAC play. UTRGV drops to 7-17 overall and 2-10 in WAC play.

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