Welcome to Bert Ogden Arena!
At least that is what the UTRGV men’s basketball team has said the past two days.
On Monday, behind a game-high 34 points from Justin Johnson, and a buzzer-beating layup from Ahren Freeman, the Vaqueros knocked off Western Illinois at Bert Ogden Arena.
And on Tuesday night, heroics weren’t necessarily needed. However, UTRGV hit six of its final seven shots to run its way to a 91-79 win over Northern Arizona at Bert Ogden Arena.
The Vaqueros shot 50 percent from the field. And Johnson had another big night with a game-high 26 points. Will Johnston had 20 points, five assists, and four rebounds. And Ahren Freeman finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
If that wasn’t enough, UTRGV was also 31-35 from the free throw line in the contest.
Following a pair of Jalen Cone free throws that cut the deficit to two with 2:53 to play, UTRGV went on a 10-0 run to push the lead to 12 with 1:05 to play.
— UTRGV Men’s Basketball (@UTRGVmbb) November 23, 2022
And from there, it was just a matter of hitting free throws. UTRGV went 5-6 down the stretch for the double digit win.
The Vaqueros are 2-0 at Bert Ogden Arena. Perhaps Matt Figger will want to schedule more games at The Bert. UTRGV heads to Austin on Saturday to take on No. 4 Texas. The Vaqueros improve to 4-2 overall and have back-to-back Division I wins.
Wildcats Can’t Keep Up with Wildcats
It was purple and white vs. purple and white at The Dollar Loan Center in Las Vegas. And it was also Wildcats vs. Wildcats when ACU and Weber State stepped on the floor at the Vegas 4.
And one set of Wildcats couldn’t keep up with the other set of Wildcats.
Weber State held ACU without a field goal over the final 3:46 in a 77-67 win on Day 2 of the Vegas 4.
ACU owned nearly ever stat in the box score. ACU had 32 rebounds to Weber State’s 22. Offensive rebounds were in favor of ACU. Second-chance points…ACU. Points in the paint…ACU. Fast break points…ACU.
But, the game came down to the free throw line and hitting timely shots. Both of which ACU did not do in the second half.
And Weber State took advantage. Weber State was 13-15 from the charity stripe in the second half. And Weber State shot nearly 49 percent after halftime.
The timely shot came with 5:24 to play. Steven Verplancken knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to push the Weber State lead to nine and ACU never recovered.
Verplancken finished with 19 points while Junior Ballard and Daniel Rouzan were also in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
From the corner!@huntermadden21
— ACU Men’s Basketball (@ACU_MBB) November 23, 2022
Two plays in particular may have changed ACU’s momentum. Tobias Cameron pulled down an offensive rebound and laid it in. But, Cameron felt he got fouled and may have said something to the official. Quick whistle. Technical foul. Instead of it being 58-53, Weber State makes two free throws to cut the deficit to three. This was with 11:08 to play.
A few possessions later, Airion Simmons felt he got hit on his layup. And after drawing a charge on Weber State’s next possession, said something, not sure what, that drew a whistle and technical foul. Junior Ballard hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 60 at that point. And from that moment at the 9:17 mark of the second half, Weber State finished the game on a 17-7 run.
ACU will finish up its trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday against UC Riverside. Brette Tanner’s crew will then head to Flagstaff to face Northern Arizona on Sunday.