Rattlers Hit the Road, Prepare for Heartland Tournament: Though their four game win streak came to an end Monday night, the Rattlers have still won six of their last eight and have clinched a berth in the Heartland Conference Tournament. They will wrap up the regular season this week when they travel to Goodwell, Okla., on Thursday to take on Oklahoma Panhandle State and then to Odessa on Saturday to face Texas-Permian Basin. The Rattlers have clinched the third seed in the tournament and will face either St. Edward’s or Incarnate Word in the semifinals on March 2 in Denton.
About Oklahoma Panhandle State: After a three-game win streak at midseason the Aggies have dropped seven of their last nine games. Lincoln eliminated OPSU from playoff competition with an 87-72 win in Jefferson City, Mo., on Saturday. LaChawn Anderson has emerged as one of the top scorers in the Heartland Conference, averaging 17.6 points per game, including 20 or more in the last five games. He scored a season high 38 points against Texas-Permian Basin. Four Aggies are averaging in double figures, helping OPSU to a 64.1 points per game, while allowing 71.0 per contest. As a team the Aggies hit on 41.8 percent from the field, while allowing their opponents to make 44.1. They are outrebounding their opponents, 34.0 to 33.6.
St. Mary’s vs. Oklahoma Panhandle State: The Rattlers own a 10-1 edge in the all-time series between the teams. St. Mary’s won the first meeting this season, 63-53 in San Antonio. OPSU won its first-ever game against the Rattlers, 71-64, last season in Goodwell. The Rattlers won 64-41 in San Antonio. St. Mary’s is 4-1 against the Aggies in Goodwell.
About Texas-Permian Basin: After winning four straight games in mid-January the Falcons have dropped five of the last six to fall to 8-15 overall. They fell to Montana State-Billings, 111-61, at Billings last Saturday. Three Falcons are averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Mansour Mbye with 15.1 per contest. As a team the Falcons are scoring 70.3 points per game and allowing 82.0. They shoot 42.1 percent from the field, while their opponents are hitting on 47.9 percent. They average 17.4 turnovers per game. They are also being outrebounded 40.9 to 33.9.
St. Mary’s vs. Texas-Permian Basin: The Rattlers won the first-ever meeting between the teams, 76-50 in San Antonio earlier this season.
St. Edward’s Pulls Away Late, Defeats St. Mary’s: St. Edward’s broke open a tight game late and ended St. Mary’s four-game win streak with a 62-55 win. St. Edward’s started the second half by expanding its lead to 10 points. Robert Owens then started a 15-3 run with a driving layup. An acrobatic tip-in off a rebound by Latez Williams tied the game at 39-39 with 11:08 left to play. After a missed shot by the Hilltoppers, Lee gave the Rattlers their first lead since early in the game with a long jump shot to make the score 41-39. Over the next six minutes the teams traded the lead six times, while there were eight tie scores as neither team was able to establish any consistent momentum. Zimmer finally gave the Hilltoppers a two-possession lead with his three-pointer at the 1:35 mark, making the score 56-52. The Rattlers turned the ball over on their next possession and Taylor Land made a pair of free throws to put the Hilltoppers up 58-52 with 34 seconds left to play. Lee missed a three-point attempt and the Hilltoppers iced the game with free throws.