It might have been a cold day in Odessa Texas on Saturday afternoon, but that did stop the loyal Falcon faithful from making its way out in droves to the Falcon Dome for the first doubleheader for the UT Permian Basin men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The cozy confines of the Falcon Dome were packed full of eager students, potential football recruits courted by head coach Justin Carrigan and his staff, and a tailgate that was just close enough to the gym for fans to run outside and grab some piping hot gumbo.
The basketball games being played were significant for both teams. The UTPB women’s team was playing its first home game of the season and the men’s team was kicking off its Lone Star Conference schedule, both teams facing Western New Mexico.
Women’s team continues to struggle
Western New Mexico 61, UT Permian Basin 41
In the first contest of the afternoon, the UTPB women’s team was looking to snap out of a five-game losing streak and played competitive basketball in the first half.
The Falcons (1-7) battled back and forth with a good Mustangs’ (3-3) team, shooting 3-7 from behind the arc, forcing seven steals, and led 27-24 going into halftime.
But the second half was a much different story. UTPB opened the half running a 2-1-2 trap and WNM was able to beat it, finding open shooters and going on a 14-3 run.
“I’ll give credit to coach (UTPB head coach) Boothe, her defense is always their spark. I know last year they ran a chaotic press and this year they run a half-court trap and it makes some teams turn the ball over,” Mustangs’ head coach Lauren Unger said.
“I mean they got us (WNM) into some hectic times and our point guards were dribbling into some bad areas, but in the second half, we were able to adjust. We started using some pass fakes and breaking it down and our shooters got hot in the corner for us.”
On the offensive side of the ball, things continued to slide for the Falcons, scoring only 14 points in the second half, shooting 18.5 percent from the field and was unable to move the ball efficiently taking heavily defended shots.
Alexandrea Washington led the way for UTPB scoring a team-high 12 points, while Kahlil Pippin-Tryon added 11 points.
UTPB’s next game is against Arlington Baptist at 2 p.m. Friday, at the Falcon Dome.
Men’s Basketball eases past first LSC opponent
UT Permian Basin 101, Western New Mexico 77
In the second game of the afternoon, the UTPB men’s team continued its dominance at the Falcon Dome picking up its 20th consecutive win. A winning streak that can be traced back all the way to February of 2017, when the team lost to Cameron, 90-87.
Right off the bat, the Falcons’ (7-1) jumped out to a 19-6 lead with the help from one of their post players Maurice Walton. The 6’ 9” junior forward scored 11 points and had 6 rebounds, while collectively the team out-rebounded the Mustangs (3-3) 28-14, entering halftime with a 39-31 lead.
In the second half, UTPB showed its all-around athleticism on both sides of the court, pulling away from WNM. The first ten minutes were a block party for UTPB, picking up five blocks, four coming from Adam Rivera and Jacob Ledoux.
On the offensive side, UTPB was able to work the ball around and find open players, shooting 60 percent from the field and 47 percent from behind the arc.
Overall seven UTPB players finished in double figures with Ledoux leading the way with 14 points, while Jamani Glover and Miles Washington finished with 12 points each.
One of the things that gives potential to be lethal in this season is the ability to interchange players. Isaac Hernandez a true freshman from Odessa High has proven himself in just a mere eight games and stepped up in the absence of Kyree Elder on Saturday. Hernandez finished with 11 points and shot 3-5 from 3.
“The guys did great, especially because I was little worried about the trip we had going to California and coming back to start league play,” Falcons’ head coach Josh Newman said.
“I thought our guys didn’t show one ounce of jet lag or lack of energy, maybe that’s why I was so hard on them (during the game) because I didn’t want to think about it. Western New Mexico is a good team, they’re 3-3 and beat some good RMAC teams, so it was a really good quality win.”
It will be interesting going forward how to see how UTPB competes against some of the top teams in the conference. Right now, excluding UTPB, the top teams in the LSC look to be West Texas A&M (10-2), Texas A&M Commerce (9-2), Tarleton State (6-2), and Angelo State (7-2).
With the conference season just under and the wide open LSC open for the taking any five of these team could find itself sitting at the top of the standings come March.
Follow Jaydon on Twitter: @JaydonHart