St.. Mary’s Heads to Denton for Heartland Tournament: The Rattlers will head north to Denton for the Heartland Conference Tournament when they take on Incarnate Word Friday at 7:30 p.m. The winner of Friday’s game will take on the winner of the St. Edward’s-Dallas Baptist semifinal, which will take place prior to St. Mary’s-UIW game, on Saturday at 6 p.m. St. Mary’s is coming off a 79-67 upset loss to Texas-Permian Basin, but still won five of their last seven games. Jarvis Lee continues to lead the team with 11.6 points per game, while Marcus Hill is scoring 10.3 per contest.

About Incarnate Word: Ater starting out the season 7-9, the Cardinals have gone 10-1 to finish the season, with their only loss being a 66-61 decision to St. Edward’s. UIW is 17-10 and 9-3 in HC play to finish second in the conference. Jason Gant is the team’s top individual player, averaging 15.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game and is hitting on 54.1 percent from the field. Mikyl Bradshaw (13.3) and Pierce Caldwell (11.4) also score in double figures. As a team the Cardinals average 74.0 points per game, while allowing 70.6 per contest. They hit on 46.8 percent from the field, and allow their opponents to make 42.0 percent. They also hit on 38.4 percent of their three-point field goals.

St. Mary’s vs. Incarnate Word: St. Mary’s leads the all-time series between the schools 27-21, including wins in four of the last six meetings and eight of the last 11. The Rattlers are 10-10 against the Cardinals at UIW. The Cardinals swept the season series, winning 96-94 in three overtimes at St. Mary’s and 70-68 at UIW. The Rattlers defeated UIW 55-38 at St. Mary’s last season and 67-52 at UIW. St. Mary’s won 67-65 at St. Mary’s and 67-52 at UIW in 2004-05. The last time the teams met in a conference tournament was during the 1998-99 season, with UIW winning 61-60.

About St. Edward’s: The Hilltoppers won the Heartland regular season title thanks to a 22-5 overall record and a 10-2 mark in HC play. They enter the tournament red-hot, as they have won 12 of their last 13 games. They are coming off an 84-67 win over Montana State-Billings. As a team the Hilltoppers average 76.5 points scored, while giving up 65.6 per game. They shoot 45.9 percent from the field, and allow their opponents to make 43.9 percent. They force 21 turnovers per game, while making 16. They are also hitting on 74.1 percent of their shots from the free throw line. Leading the way individually is Shawn Weintstein, who averages 16.0 points per game. Taylor Mullenax is the only other Hilltopper scoring in double figures with 12.0. He also leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per game.

St. Mary’s vs. St. Edward’s: The Rattlers lead the all-time series 40-13 since the 1982-83 season. The Hilltoppers swept the season series from the Rattlers, winning 54-47 in Austin and 62-55 in San Antonio. The teams split the season series, with the Rattlers winning 58-48 in San Antonio and with the Hilltoppers winning in Austin, 89-75. The Rattlers swept the season series from the Hilltoppers in 2004-05. The last time the teams met in a conference tournament was during the 1998-99 season, with St. Mary’s winning 77-70.

About Dallas Baptist: After a 4-10 start to the season the Patriots finished the season 6-6 to qualify for the Heartland Tournament in their first season of basketball. They have been strong at home, posting a winning record, but are just 3-10 away from Dallas. Nick Michels leads the team with 15.8 points per game, while Dwight Coleman is the only other Patriot scoring in double figures with 12.7 points per game. As a team the Patriots average 71.4 points, while allowing 75.9 points per contest. They hit on 45.5 percent of their shots from the field, while their opponents make 43.7 percent. DBU average 7.9 three-pointers made per game. They also average 18.1 turnovers per game.

St. Mary’s vs. Dallas Baptist: The teams met for first time on Jan. 13 in San Antonio with the Rattlers winning 85-80. St. Mary’s also edged the Patriots in the second meeting, 79-74.

Texas-Permian Basin Upsets Rattlers, 79-67: Rashad Pride scored 23 points and Texas-Permian Basin shot 51.7 percent from the field to upset St. Mary’s, 79-67. St. Mary’s had just one lead in the game, 2-0, early on. UTPB turned a three-point edge into a 12-point lead with a 9-0 run midway through the first half. The Rattlers cut the lead to seven at the half at 32-25. The Falcons increased their lead to 12 again in the second half, but again the Rattlers came back and when Marcus Hill (So., Longview) converted on a three-point play with 7:10 left to play to cut the deficit to just five at 56-51. However the Falcons rebounded with a 10-3 run to increase their advantage to 12 at 66-54 with 5:12 left. From there UTPB increased the lead to as much as 16 points. Jarvis Lee led the Rattlers with 12 points, while Robert Owens had 10 points and seven rebounds. Hill had eight points and eight rebounds. UTPB shot 51.7 percent (30-58) from the field in the game, including 65.4 percent (17-26) in the second half. St. Mary’s shot 39.3 percent (24-61) from the field, including 6.7 percent (1-15) from three-point range. The Rattlers outrebounded the Falcons 40-32.

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