Justin Johnson and UTRGV punched a ticket to WAC Vegas with a win at Lamar on Thursday night. Courtesy UTRGV Athletics.

UTRGV Punches Ticket in Comeback Win Over Lamar

For the UTRGV Vaqueros, the 2021-22 season has been underwhelming. Coming into Wednesday, the Vaqueros had just two conference wins. And, in all reality, have not been fully healthy the entire season.

And at the Montagne Center, UTRGV found itself trailing by nine points with 8:10 to play. But, Justin Johnson and Xavier Johnson put the Vaqueros on their back down the stretch. Justin Johnson’s jumper with a hand in his face with 14 seconds to play put UTRGV up for good.

Johnson then knocked down a free throw with two seconds to play to ice the 67-63 win over Lamar. With the win, UTRGV officially punches its ticket to WAC Vegas. The only question now is if UTRGV will be the 9-seed or the 10-seed. UTRGV holds the tiebreaker over Chicago State if the two teams end in a tie. UTRGV is now 3-14 in WAC play. Chicago State is 3-13. The Cougars are currently trailing at California Baptist at halftime.

Lamar led 60-55 with 2:37 to play. But Justin Johnson converted a 3-point play. And Marek Nelson and Quinton Johnson III came up with back-to-back steals that led to layups, giving UTRGV the 62-60 lead. It was a lead the Vaqueros held a firm grip on over the final 1:36.

Justin Johnson finished with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. Xavier Johnson had 15 points and 5 rebounds. And Marek Nelson was also in double figures with 11 points. Lamar had four players in double figures led by Brock McClure’s 12 points. But, turnovers down the stretch and missed free throws hurt the Cardinals who were looking for their first conference win of 2021-22. Now, Lamar is 0-17 and has one game left to play in a wild season. The Cardinals host California Baptist on Saturday in the regular season finale for both teams.

UTRGV hosts Stephen F. Austin on Saturday in the regular season finale for both squads.

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