The California Baptist Lancers are the only team in the WAC to beat a Division I opponent. Yes, it was Jackson State and yes it was a home game at the CBU Events Center.
But, in the first true test of the season, the Lancers showed why their fans and WAC fans are high on the newest member of the conference.
CBU traveled to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns on Tuesday night. And while the final score of 67-54 may seem like this game was a blowout, you might be surprised.
Despite trailing 7-1 to start the game, CBU never let the lead get further than seven in the first half. When a Matt Coleman III free throw gave Texas a 17-10 lead with 8:38 to play in the first half, CBU answered right back. Milan Acquaah hit a 3-pointer. De’Jon Davis nailed a jumper and it was a two-point game.
Texas took another seven-point lead with 4:46 to play but CBU responded with another quick 5-0 run to cut it back to two. Eventually the halftime deficit was four at 26-22, but CBU hung around.
Problem was the start of the second half. Texas began on a 9-0 run to push the lead to 13 and Texas never relinquished the lead again. However, back-to-back 3-pointers from Acquaah and Ferron Flavors Jr. cut the deficit to three with 7:23 to play. It was as close as the Lancers got the rest of the way.
But for a second year, NCAA Division I team, CBU made somewhat of a statement. The Lancers are going to compete. It is something head coach Rick Croy spoke about prior to the season starting. With a potential NBA guard in Milan Acquaah as well as Ferron Flavors Jr. who has made an instant impact, CBU has pieces in place to be successful.
If you look at the box score, nearly all stats look similar. Perhaps had CBU hit more free throws, the Lancers might have caused even more problems. The Lancers were just 6-16 from the charity stripe in the loss.
Points in the paint will have to get better. Texas outscored CBU 30-14 in the paint. That is where Mr. Double-Double De’Jon Davis has to do his damage. Against Texas, Davis had seven points and eight rebounds.
Considering Texas just beat No. 23 Purdue at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, it is safe to say that CBU competed at a high level and showed they are going to back down.
CBU had 16 points off turnovers compared to 11 for Texas. Bench points were about even at 13-11 in favor of Texas. The Longhorns had a 12-11 edge in fast break points. Perhaps it was the 11 steals by the Longhorns that caused problems. Perhaps it was poor shooting by CBU. Either way, CBU competes and that’s all Rick Croy asks of his players.
Perhaps they can show and prove even more when they take on PAC-12 and in-state foe Cal on Friday night in Berkeley.