Basketball team hopes to go undefeated against rival Tarleton

Jessalyn Castro

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Abiodun Adegoke, senior, gets the rebound while his teammate, Khapri Alston, junior, holds back a Angelo State player during the game on January 21 in the D.L. Ligon Coliseum, where Angelo State won 72-55. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Abiodun Adegoke, senior, gets the rebound while his teammate, Khapri Alston, junior, holds back a Angelo State player during the game on January 21 in the D.L. Ligon Coliseum, where Angelo State won 72-55. Photo by Rachel Johnson

After ending Tarleton’s 14 game  home winning streak, the men’s basketball team faces its rival from Stephenville again tonight at 7:30 p.m. in D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

At the two teams’ last meeting Jan. 14 at Wisdom Gym in Stephenville, the game was tight with Tarleton ahead 41-39 at the half but the Texans fell short in the end with a score of 78-76.

“There was a lot going on,” said Bretson McNeal, sports and leisure junior. “We played a great defense. We expect that this game.”

McNeal, shooting guard, was the leader on the scoreboards with 23 points against the Texans.

“I just expect a hard-fought, good, intense game and to come out with the win,” McNeal said. “Great execution on the offensive end so that we can seal the game and what matters most. That’s what we did down the stretch last time so we’re going to need that today.”

Head coach Nelson Haggerty said both teams played well on both ends of the floor in their last game against Tarleton.

“In the middle of that second half we were able to put some runs together,” Haggerty said. “It came down to getting a stop or two.”

But with a second meeting on the horizon, Haggerty said there is an advantage to playing teams more than once each season.

“I think in playing teams twice you definitely have to make some adjustments,” he said. “You want to do the things that you did well and improve on the things you didn’t do well on.”

The Texans put up a fight in the last game and are likely to do the same tonight as Patrick Smith, business finance junior and shooting guard, said the game is going to be intense with the tough rivalry that has been around for years.

“We just have to stay aggressive, finish on the offensive side, and play defense,” Smith said. “We’re going to be ready. We’re just waiting for them.”

With an overall record of 17-4 and 6-1 in conference play, Haggerty said the team is in a good position at second place in the Lone Star Conference, and although they lost some games early in the season, the focus is now to just take care of business.

“Now we’re in a position where we’re one game out of the conference league,” Haggerty said. “It’s good to be in control of your own destiny.”

Angelo State holds the first place spot in the Lone Star Conference ahead of the Mustangs. As the guys took a 55-72 loss to them the last time they met, the two teams will meet again Feb. 18 at Stephens Arena in San Angelo.

“We play them in a couple weeks so we can even the score there,” Haggerty said.

But to even the score and have a chance at an LSC Championship title, Haggerty said the team needs to keep growing. He said this is one of the only times they have their full roster which will be one advantage they didn’t have before.

“We have to continue to defend and rebound the basketball and be better and consistent of executing on the offensive side,” Haggerty said.

Working as a team is a key factor in being able to take care of business on the court. Smith said the team always preaches about playing as a team and a win should be within easy reach.

“We always have each other’s back,” Smith said. “So if one is down there’s always someone behind him to pick him up.”

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