Perhaps CBU was overlooking UTRGV when the two teams tipped off in the WAC opener on Thursday night. And who can blame them if they were? The defending WAC champs are coming to town on Saturday night and UTRGV has struggled all season long to find consistency.
Not so fast, my friend. UTRGV gave the second-ranked team in the WAC Power Rankings a scare in the first half.
UTRGV’s pressure defense and up-tempo offense created havoc inside the CBU Events Center. The Vaqueros had five steals, two blocks and 14 points off 14 CBU turnovers UTRGV also out-rebounded the Lancers and even had a slight edge in points in the paint. It is a big reason UTRGV led 37-34 at the break.
“You can have a first half like that and then guys can hang their heads or point fingers,” CBU head coach Rick Croy said. “We just don’t have any of that. We have guys that want to get the job done. And they knew. We challenged them at halftime … Second half was big time.”
However, halftime adjustments were made and whatever head coach Rick Croy said to his team at the break, worked. Brandon Boyd scored 20 second-half points, Milan Acquaah chipped in 11 second-half points and CBU rolled to a 76-67 win over UTRGV at CBU Events Center.
The Lancers went 16-18 from the free throw line in the second half. Along with the success at the free throw line, CBU also out-rebounded UTRGV 26-17.
After UTRGV scored the first basket of the second half, CBU got hot. The Lancers went on an 18-2 run to take a 52-43 lead with just over 12 minutes to play. Boyd had 11 of the 18 points during the run.
Connor Raines hit a 3-pointer to end the run but it was too little, too late.
Brandon Boyd is cookin' up something special in the Events Center!#LanceUp⚔ | #WAChoops pic.twitter.com/1gR6qsB87f
— CBU Men's Basketball (@CBUmbb) January 3, 2020
Boyd finished with a game-high 25 points. Acquaah finished with 19 points and Ferron Flavors Jr. had 11 for the Lancers.
Jordan Jackson had a team-high 17 points while Javon Levi had 16 points and Quinton Johnson II had 10 points.
It is the seventh straight win for CBU, good for seventh longest in the nation. CBU improves to 10-4 overall and 1-0 in WAC play. UTRGV falls to 4-10 overall and 0-1 in WAC play. UTRGV is off until next Saturday when the Vaqueros will host Kansas City.
CBU, on the other hand, has perhaps its biggest game of the season on Saturday when the Lancers host New Mexico State. The Lancers beat the Aggies in the WAC opener for both teams a season ago.
“They’re playing really well,” Croy said of New Mexico State. “Much like last year, they’re very, very deep. Probably one of the deepest teams in the country … the reality of it is, last year’s game doesn’t matter. It has nothing to do with this game … we’ve got to get ready to compete. It’s a 40-minute ordeal against New Mexico State. You’ve got to do it in all areas. You’ve got to be sharp with everything you’re doing.”