No. 5 Buffs welcome Oklahoma Panhandle State in home opener

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CANYON, Texas- The no. 5 West Texas A&M Buffs (0-2, 0-0 LSC) take a break from Division II competition on Nov. 21 when they host Oklahoma Panhandle State (0-6, 0-1 SAC) for Monday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. against the Aggies at First United Bank Center in Canyon.

Honorary Coach Rob Williams joins the Buffs coaching staff. Williams won Buff for a Day at an annual fundraiser for basketball teams Buff and Lady Buff, the Maroon & White Tip-Off Classic, held this October. Williams will experience what it’s like to be a member of the coaching staff.

LIVE BROADCAST

A live stream and statistics will be provided by the WT communications department. The game will be streamed on the Lone Star Conference Digital Network. Fans can purchase a $10 day pass that grants them access to all competitions on the network for the day, as well as 24-hour access to previously aired games from the current season.

Fans can also purchase a $75 volleyball season pass, which gives them access to all Lone Star Conference basketball games. In addition to live and archived streaming options, viewers will have the option to purchase and download 2022-23 season games for $10 each.

AROUND THE LONE STAR
Four Lone Star Conference teams remain undefeated, with Western New Mexico leading the West Division with a 4-0 aggregate record. Eastern New Mexico is second in the division with a 2-1 record, followed by Angelo State, Lubbock Christian and UT Permian Basin, all 1-1. Cameron is sixth at 1-2, followed by Midwestern State (0-3) and West Texas A&M (0-2).

1,000 HIT

Junior Zach Toussaint became the 24thth Player in program history for achieving 1,000 career points in the Buffs’ top 5 match against No. 1 Northwest Missouri state in the season opener. The Johnsburg, Illinois now ranks 23rdapproxon the all-time leaderboard with 1,009 total points, overtaking former buff James Scott (1952-55). David Chavlovich (2014-18) is the program’s top scorer with 2,520 points.

Scouting OPSU

The Aggies were chosen 11th in the Sooner Athletic Conference preseason poll after finishing the 2021-22 season 12:16 and 9:13 in the league. OPSU is led by fourth-year head coach Mark Laird, who has led the Aggies to an overall record of 22-53 (.293).

OPSU scores 80.8 points per game, which is 14.5 fewer than their opponents, and shoots 46.6 percent from the field, 27.6 percent from the arc, and 74.0 percent from the free throw line, along with 30.8 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 6.2 steals, 2.5 blocks and 17.8 turnovers.

SAC Player of the Week Rayquan Elliott is averaging 36.0 points per fight to lead the offense through six games. The Tulsa, Oklahoma senior shoots 50.7 percent from the ground along with 41.5 percent from deep and 81.0 percent on the charity streak.

Justin Pile is Aggies’ second-best scorer at 16.2 points per game while he has a team-high 55 boards (9.2/game) this season, along with six steals and three blocks. Woody Therenchiel leads by eight blocks while Kaleb Stephens leads with 15 assists and 22 steals.

THE SERIES

The Buffs lead the all-time streak 60-6, with a current 10-game win streak, including 3-0 under Tom Brown. WT is 43-2 overall at home, with just two losses in 1935 and 1987. The Buffs have outplayed the Aggies 90.6-66.6 in the last five meetings.

W, 65-58 – November 19, 2013
W, 72-62 – December 14, 2013
W, 87-77 – December 1, 2015
W, 105-66 – November 22, 2016
W, 124-70 – November 29, 2019

LAST TIME-OUT

The Buffs led 2-0 out of the season for the first time since 2015 after falling to No. 1 Northwest Missouri State and Florida Southern at the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Lakeland, Fla. WT previously fell 78-62 to Northwest in the tournament finals to face FSC 92-90.

WEEKLY HONORS

Newcomer Damion Thornton was named LSC Attacking Player of the Week following the opening weekend of the 2022/23 season. The Edmond, Oklahoma senior totaled 36 points in the opening weekend to lead the Buffs offense, including a season-high 23 against Florida Southern at Florida’s Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic. Thornton shot 66.7% (14 of 21) from the floor for the buffs and 66.7% (8 of 12) from the charity streak, resulting in nine rebounds, five steals and one assist.

RECORD WATCH
Zach Toussaint moves up the ladder in the program’s 3-point career leaderboard. The Johnsburg, Illinois product ranks fourth all-time with 222 threes and is just 31 behind the same former buff Martin Lattibeaudiere (1993-97). David Chavlovich (2014-18) is the program’s all-time 3-point leader with 388.

THE BROWN ERA

head coach Tom Brown enters his ninth season at the helm of Buffalo Basketball, growing the program into one of the elite NCAA Division II schools in the nation. He has led the Buffs to six straight NCAA tournaments, including the Buffs’ first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship game in 2021. Under Brown, the Buffs are 210-52 since he took the reins in 2014 with an incredible win ratio of 80.2%. Brown registered his 200thth Career win on January 31, 2022 after the Buffs defeated St. Edward’s 82-72 to become only the third coach in program history to reach the 200-win plateau.

LSC PRE-SEASON FAVORITE
The Buffs were selected to win their sixth straight LSC tournament title, receiving 36 of the 39 first place votes for 619 total points. DBU earned 560 points and took second place, followed by Lubbock Christian (2-fpv, 489), Midwestern State (460) and St. Edward’s (428) completing the top five. Texas A&M-Kingsville (399) was sixth followed by St. Mary’s (380), Angelo State (364), UT Tyler (314), UT Permian Basin (1-fpv, 310), UAFS (293), Texas A&M International (246), Western New Mexico (145), Oklahoma Christian (134), Eastern New Mexico (95), and Cameron (68).

PRE-SEASON POY
Julius Brown, a native of Westerville, Ohio, was named league preseason player of the year after helping the Buffs to their fifth straight conference title. The D2CCA All-Region Selection and LSC Newcomer of the Year averaged 16.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 42.1 percent from the floor, 31.1 percent from the 3-point range and 76.8 percent shot from the free throw line. He hit a season-high 34 in the Buffs’ 83-73 win over Angelo State in the Conference Quarterfinals.

SEASON OPENER

WT has posted a 6-3 (.667) record under his head coach in the season openers Tom Brown including 3-1 in neutral places. In the season openers, the biggest lead comes from a 100-70 win over Texas A&M-Commerce in 2020.

L, 62-78, versus No. 1 in Northwest Missouri
W, 72-63, versus #4 Colorado Mesa
W, 100-70, vs. Texas A&M Commerce
W, 99-89 (OT), vs. #6 Lincoln Memorial
W, 68-62 (OT), vs. Drury
W, 90-69, v. Adams State
W, 86-72, vs. Azusa Pacific
L, 91-81, at Fort Lewis
L, 94-81, in the state of Colorado-Pueblo

RETURN NUMBERS

The Buffs return with eight players from last season’s roster advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Of these returnees are starters Larry Wise, Julius Brown and Zach Toussaint each scored over 500 points, which is 54.5% of last year’s points. Julius Brown Other returning buffs include Parker Nielsen, Cameron Bell, Jesse Iweze, Jonas Carlise and Addison Wallace.

NEW EDITIONS
During the offseason, WT welcomed six new additions to the 2022-23 roster, including transfers Damion Thornton (Southwestern Oklahoma State), Ryland Holt (Minnesota State Mankato) and Journee Phillips (Texas A&M International), while Ahamed Mohammed, Brock Mishak and Nicholas Jett step in into her freshman season of college.

WT also announced to the coaching staff the signing of David Chavlovich, the standout WT, as the Lone Star Conference’s all-time top scorer was named assistant coach in July. To date, Chavlovich remains the only player in school history to have reached 2,000 points.

NABC TOP 25 POLL

Defending champion Northwest Missouri State takes first place with 12 of the 16 first-place votes, followed by August (1-fpv), Indiana (1-fpv), Nova Southeastern (2-fpv), and WT. Lone Star Conference member Lubbock Christian was also ranked 16th in the national rankingsth.

2021-22 REVIEW
The Buffs finished the 2021-22 season 29-7 with the program’s sixth straight appearance at the NCAA tournament. WT received automatic bid for the tournament after winning the Lone Star Conference Tournament title for the fifth consecutive year and beating Texas A&M-Kingsville 77-70 in the championship. Julius Brown received tournament MVP honors after leading the tournament with 76 points, including 34 in the quarterfinals. Zach Toussaint became the first player to drop 36 points in a single game since 2016 while finishing 14thth in the course of the program to reach the milestone.

THE LONELY STAR

The 2022-23 LSC basketball schedule will feature 16 men’s teams in two divisions, with each team playing a double round-robin schedule within its division. Additionally, teams play eight crossover competitions against teams from the opposing division for a total of 22 conference games.

The 2023 LSC Basketball Championships will feature an 8-team field, with seeding based on the 22 conference games. The division winners receive the top two seeds of the tournament. The championships will be held March 2-3-5, 2023 at the Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas.

NEXT

The Buffs return to Division II competition when they host the Oklahoma Baptist Bison on Saturday, November 26 at 2 p.m. CT at the First United Bank Center

FOLLOW THE BUFFS

Fans can follow and keep up to date with all Buff action online and on social media. Follow the Buffs on Twitter (@WestTXD2Hoops), Instagram (@WTAMU_MBB), and Facebook (/WTAMUMBB).

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