Lions Win Conference Title Outright, Right To Host Tournament

With its overtime win against Rogers State on Thursday night at the Stubblefield Center, the UAFS men’s basketball team won no less than a share of the Heartland Conference regular-season title.

     The Lions, however, needed some help from an old rival on Saturday afternoon if they were to win the title outright and host the conference tournament for the second consecutive season.

     St. Mary’s kindly obliged.

     The Lions sat with friends and family in the Stubblefield Center hospitality room watching the webcast of St. Mary’s regular-season finale against Texas A&M International at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.

     It took two overtime periods, but St. Mary’s beat Texas A&M International 74-65.

     With St. Mary’s win, UAFS won the regular-season title outright by one game over Texas A&M International and will host the two-day, four-team conference tournament beginning on Friday at the Stubblefield Center.

     “I’m extremely excited for our guys and our community,” UAFS coach Josh Newman said. “Winning the league two years in a row and hosting the conference tournament is the reward for all the hard work and sacrifices our team has made since August.”

     UAFS will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will play No. 4 seed University of Texas of the Permian Basin (16-10, 10-8), and Texas A&M International (20-8, 13-5) will be the No. 2 seed and will play a rematch with No. 3 seed St. Mary’s (19-7, 12-6). Both games will be played on Friday with the championship game set for Saturday.

     Official game times and other tournament information will be released Monday afternoon following a conference call with all the participating teams.

     “I know the guys will be excited to continue playing in front of our home crowd,” said Newman, whose Lions were 14-0 at home during the regular season.

     UAFS beat the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in their only encounter this season 83-80 on Jan. 30 at the Falcon Dome in Odessa, Texas. UAFS split with St. Mary’s and Texas A&M International this season with each team winning on its home court.

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