|February 28, 2015||1st||2nd||Final|
East Texas Baptist
|Stats at a Glance||CTX||ETBU|
|FG Percentage||.328 (21-64)||.500 (25-50)|
|3P FG Percentage||.286 (8-28)||.333 (2-6)|
|FT Percentage||.677 (21-31)||.750 (30-40)|
- 21||Erby Thompson
Jamil Samuel - 15
- 8||Jamil Samuel
Rashad Coleman - 2
- 3||Justin Felicia
Jamil Samuel - 2
- 1||Ahnre Gray
MARSHALL, Texas—History happened on Saturday night as East Texas Baptist University won their 20th straight game in Ornelas Gym clinching their first-ever American Southwest Conference Tournament Championship, 82-71, over Concordia University-Texas. ETBU now receives their first-ever automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament and has won 13 of their last 14 games with 23 wins overall.
“This place is a special place as East Texas Baptist University is dear to my heart,” says head coach Bert West. “The fans, the students, all the athletic teams support each other and that was wonderful. I’ve coached a lot of teams and have to be careful how I say this but it’s fair to say that I have never had a team that has played more as a team than this team. They are absolutely selfless and that is one of the biggest reasons why we are where we are.”
Jamil Samuel led the way for ETBU with a double-double—scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. He was joined in double figures by Erby Thompson, who also scored 15 to tie for the team lead as well as Junior Mitchell with 14 and Bret Atkins with 13. Rashad Coleman led Concordia with 21 points and eight rebounds.
“This is amazing. We have worked really hard for this, everybody in that locker room, as we ran a lot of hills and did a lot to prepare this and truly is amazing,” says Justin Felicia.
ETBU’s defense was a big part in the game as they held Concordia-Texas to just 32 percent shooting overall and only 28 percent in the first half. Concordia-Texas leads the ASC in scoring (88.5 ppg) and was held to 71 points and normally shoots .439 from the floor. They also shoot 36 percent from the arc and held to just 8-of-28 (28 percent). ETBU then took advantage at the strip going 30-of-40 for 75 percent. In the two prior ASC tournament games, Concordia had shot over 45% from the field and almost 40% from downtown.
Never trailing in the game and jumping out to a 7-0 lead, Jamil Samuel scored the first basket 36 seconds in, one of four ETBU players to score during a 7-0 run to start the game. From there ETBU continued to expand their lead, getting up to double digits at 20-9 at the 10:28 mark. Each time Concordia cut the lead to single digits, ETBU would push it back up to double digits and went into halftime with a 43-33 lead.
Concordia got within seven in the opening minutes of the second half, but was as close as they would get the rest of the half. ETBU pushed the lead up to as many as 16 in the second half at 58-42 at the 11:15 mark. From there they would cruise the rest of the half to pull out the 11 point win.
Junior Mitchell was named tournament MVP, joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Jamil Samuel and Justin Felicia. The trio joins Jacob Turnipseed from 2010 as ETBU’s all-time ASC all-tournament selections. Andre Potts and Coleman for Concordia were both named all-tournament team, joined by Derrick Jefferson of Hardin-Simmons and Brandon Gould of Howard Payne.
ETBU has sealed up an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament and will find out on Monday morning at 11:30 a.m. where, who, and when they will be playing next week.