Thursday, March 4, 2010

First-Day Thoughts from Bartlesville ...

Before we move on to the second day of the LSC Post-Season Basketball Tournament here in Bartlesville, Okla., let's take a quick look back at Day 1, which was dominated by the men's teams from the LSC South.

* ACU head coach Jason Copeland has talked all season about how tough the LSC South is, and that was on display in Wednesday's first round. Three of the four LSC teams in action won with West Texas A&M (the No. 4 seed from the division) upsetting LSC North Division champion Central Oklahoma, 80-79, in the final game of the day.

WT head coach Rick Cooper is one of the good guys in the league (now that's tough for anyone from ACU to say) and might be the best coach in the LSC, and his teams are always prepared when it comes to tournament play. But even Cooper had to be surprised at how quickly his team got out against the Bronchos.

Earlier this season, UCO blew out West Texas A&M, but Wednesday night the Buffs turned the tables on UCO, jumping out to a 22-5 lead. UCO finally caught the Buffs at 60-60 midway through the second half, and took the lead at 73-71 and then taking a 76-73 lead on an Eric Cazenave 3-pointer. But the Buffs bounced back, tying the game at 79-79, and then forcing a turnover with five seconds left.

That's when Cazenave made one of the strangest plays you'll see. With 1.8 seconds left in the game and Nick Burns at least 45 feet from the goal, Cazenave went for the steal and instead caught Burns with a hip-check. Cazenave was whistled for his fifth foul, but more importnatly, Burns went to the free throw line where he hit the first free throw to make it 80-79. He missed the second, but UCO couldn't do anything with the miss and the Buffs picked up the day's only upset.

* At the end of the UCO-WT game, there was a clock malfunction that had everyone on edge as to the game's final outcome. With 1.8 seconds left in the game, Burns went to the line and hit the first free throw to put the Buffs up 80-79. He missed the second free throw, however, and after UCO's Tyler Phillips grabbed the rebound and fired a length-of-the-floor pass for a teammate who missed a shot, it appeared the game was over.

But the clock operator forgot to start the clock on the miss, so instead of the game ending, the officials had to go to the video replay. After using a stopwatch along with the live video, it was determined the shot -- which still didn't go in -- was long after the buzzer should have sounded, and the game was declared over.

* Angelo State's men's basketball team has to learn to control itself. Late in yesterday's first-round loss to Northeastern State, there was an altercation that led head coach Fred Rike to sending about half his team to the locker room for the final few seconds of the game. He had to have an assistant coach pull two guys out of the locker room to go with the three guys who didn't participate in the altercation come back out on the floor just to finish the game with five on the floor.

This is the second straight post-season game that has seen the Rams end the game with an altercation. Last year at the regional tournament there was an incident between the Rams and Bearcats of Southwest Baptist that resulted in technicals. Let's just say that Angelo State AD Kathleen Brasfield was clearly very unhappy about the way the Rams represented themselves and the university Wednesday afternon.

* Tarleton State's depth finally wore out Texas A&M-Commerce, which saw four of its players foul out in the game. The Texans were down 54-43 with 7:01 to play in the game, but outscored the Lions 43-22 over the final 7:01 of regulation and five minutes of overtime to take the 83-76 overtime victory.

* Midwestern State might be the best team in the field, but the Mustangs are going to have to play much better the rest of the way to beat Tarleton State, Northeastern State or West Texas A&M. In fact, one person who has seen almost every MSU game this year said that their win over Southwestern Oklahoma State on Wednesday was one of their worst performances of the season.

Now, on to Day 2...

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