Week five of the conference season has come to an end. And the most impressive team of the week has to be the Tarleton Texans. Did you see what the Texans did to GCU on Saturday night at Wisdom Gym? We will get to that in a bit.
Seattle U came back to Earth in an eerily similar result to a difficult road trip in 2021-22. Stephen F. Austin got a pair of home wins this week to stay in the hunt for the regular season title. Southern Utah made the race for the regular season more interesting.
And New Mexico State has now fallen two games behind for the final spot at WAC Vegas.
It is just a wild, WILD, league. We have been saying that since June. The WAC is deeper, better, and there are no nights off.
Utah Valley 77, New Mexico State 72
It hasn’t been the best week for the Utah Valley Wolverines. Sorry, my bad. The Utah Valley Devil Bears.
Okay, all jokes aside…Utah Valley split the week. But, it was a difficult one. First, the Wolverines looked out of sorts, especially in the second half at SUU on Thursday night. And on Saturday, hosting winless New Mexico State, the Wolverines led by as many as 21. But, Utah Valley, rather than blowing out the Aggies, struggled to fend off the lone winless team in WAC play. It came down to free throws late to earn the 77-72 win over the Aggies.
Fortunately, Justin Harmon and company got the job done on Mark Madsen’s birthday. The Wolverines hold a .5 game lead in the race for the regular season championship.
Stephen F. Austin 79, Seattle U 65
In 2021-22, Seattle U opened WAC play 8-0. Then, the Redhawks took a difficult road trip to GCU and New Mexico State. Seattle U returned from that road trip with an 8-2 conference record.
In 2022-23, Seattle U opened WAC play 7-0. Then, the Redhawks took a difficult road trip to Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. Seattle U returned from that road trip with a 7-2 conference record.
In 2021-22, both of those losses were by double figures. And, in 2022-23, both of those losses were by double figures. Day Day Hall had a double-double off the bench and Latrell Jossell hit four 3-pointers as the Jacks made the regular season race much more interesting.
The Jacks led wire-to-wire on Saturday at The Sawmill. Cam Tyson had 16 points to lead the Redhawks.
Abilene Christian 81, Utah Tech 76
Winning at home is huge in the WAC in 2022-23, especially with the WAC seeding system. And ACU was coming off a tough loss to GCU on Thursday night. But, Ali Dibba scored a team-high 19 points, Damien Daniels had 17 points, six rebounds and five steals and the Wildcats got a win to cap off the week at Moody Coliseum.
Cam Gooden had a team-high 26 points in his second game back from an oblique injury.
UTRGV 64, California Baptist 58
Coming into Saturday, UTRGV had allowed its opponents to score 80-plus points in five straight games.
But, the Vaqueros got defensive on Saturday night in a sold out UTRGV Fieldhouse. UTRGV held CBU to its lowest point total since a 64-53 loss to Cal Poly on Dec. 3. And the Vaqueros had to do that considering they weren’t lighting up the scoreboard on the other end.
But, Will Johnston and the Vaqueros got a huge home win on Saturday night.
Tarleton 81, Grand Canyon 62
Last week, on the road, the Texans looked lifeless in a pair of losses to Seattle U and CBU. Then, on Thursday at home, the Texans jumped out to a big first half lead against Utah Tech and held on for dear life in the two-point win.
Saturday, there was no need for the Texans to hold on for dear life. At one point, midway through the second half, the lead was 33. Yes, the Tarleton Texans led by 33 over Grand Canyon. The final score is in no way indicative of how dominant the Texans were on Saturday night.
Freddy Hicks was back to his old self with a team-high 18 points. Kiandre Gaddy had 15 points. Shamir Bogues and Lue Williams were the only other Texans in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively.