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TAMUC – Sports

Thursday Lion Basketball games vs. St. Mary’s moved to Moody Coliseum.

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce has announced a site change for its women’s and men’s basketball games against St. Mary’s University on Thursday, November 21. The games will be played in Dallas at SMU’s Moody Coliseum, with the women’s game scheduled for 5:30 pm and the men’s game scheduled for 7:45 pm.

Admission to the games will be free of charge as part of the A&M-Commerce Dallas Alumni Appreciation Night. 

The site change became necessary when the Lion Volleyball team earned the right to host the Lone Star Conference Volleyball Championship Tournament on Thursday through Saturday, with four quarterfinal matches in the Field House.

The basketball games against St. Edward’s on Saturday will be played in the Field House as scheduled.

The Lion Sports Network (KETR 88.9 FM, KETR.org) and the Lone Star Conference Digital Network will broadcast the games on Thursday.

Lions earn co-divisional championship after sweeping UT Tyler on Senior Day.

COMMERCE— The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team earned a sweep over UT Tyler on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the regular season. The set scores were 25-23, 25-22, and 25-20. 

The win brings the Lions to 24-5 on the season, and they end the regular season with a 16-2 record in the Lone Star Conference and a 9-1 record in their division. With their 9-1 division record, the Lions are co-division champions alongside Arkansas-Fort Smith, who split the season series with A&M-Commerce. The Patriots fall to 10-16 on the year, 5-13 in LSC play and 2-8 in the division. 

The Lions return to action next week in the Lone Star Conference Tournament, which will be at the gym of the highest seed in the LSC rankings. Official tournament seeding and host site will be determined and announced by the conference office in their official release on Sunday. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Before the match, the Lions celebrated their senior class, which consists of Shelley Chapron (Houston – St. Pius X), Daniela Santos (Caracas, Venezuela), Payton McMillan (Denton), Bina Njikam (Keller), and Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands – College Park).

– Eleven different Lions had at least one kill in the match. Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) led the team with eight kills.

– Chapron and Njikam each had five kills, along with Nicki Gonelli (Round Rock – Stony Point).

– Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) led the team with 19 assists, while Natalie Sarbeck (Cypress – Cy-Fair) added ten assists.

– Rutledge led the team with 13 digs in the match. Chapron led the team with five blocks, while Andersen and Njikam each added four blocks.

– With the win, the Lions are co-divisional champions along with Arkansas-Fort Smith. The teams each earned a road win in the season series. 

HEAD COACH CRAIG CASE AFTER THE MATCH (LINK)

– On sweeping two tightly contested matches with UT Tyler: “They are a good team. There really is no team that you look forward to playing in our league. It was two tough days of volleyball. Nobody has watched more film on us than UT Tyler, because they are our travel partner. Tight sets are what playoff volleyball is all about. I thought it was fun to be in that situation. We enjoy tight matches because I think it brings out the best in our team.

– On the impact of the senior class: “Our program has come a long way in the last three years, and that progress does not happen without them. I could not be more thankful to them for where they have helped push our program. To have a great crowd is fitting. And for Savannah to get the last dig of the match and for Shelley to get the last kill, that’s how it should have ended. And Bina basically took over that third set. I was really proud and thankful that our seniors showed up big. And the energy and the support that they have gotten here, they will remember that for the rest of their lives. It was a very fitting senior day in a lot of ways.”

– On the potential to host the LSC Tournament next week: “Our first goal this year was to be champions of our division. We were able to tie with Fort Smith on that, so we are co-divisional champions. And they are one of the best teams we have played all year. For both of us to take a match from the other on their home court, that really showed the parity between us. We are excited because winning our division will give us a more favorable seed in the conference tournament. We like where we are going into the conference tournament. We are excited for it. We don’t quite know what the seedings are. We will find that out tomorrow. But no matter what happens, we have to be ready for it and have to be excited for it. I think our players obviously enjoyed the conference tournament last year and are looking forward to that opportunity again to see what we are made of.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions got off to a blazing start, scoring the first seven points of the match. Njikam and Andersen each had a pair of points in the set. UT Tyler settled in and battled back, cutting the Lion lead to 9-8. The Lions went on an 8-3 run to push their lead back to six points before UT Tyler fought back again, eventually taking the lead at 20-19. The Lions persevered and with grit, won the set 25-23. 

After the Lions got off to a 4-2 lead in the second set, UT Tyler went on a run, scoring seven points in a row to take the lead. The Lions responded with a series of their own, including a pair of kills from Vela and a pair of aces from Chapron, taking 10 of the next 13 points to recapture the lead. After a UT Tyler run gave them the lead back, the Lions finished the set strong, taking the final three points to win the set 25-22. 

The teams traded mini runs in the third set to begin, as A&M-Commerce held a slim 13-12 lead at the midway mark of the set. The Lions then began to surge, taking six of the next nine points to take a four-point lead. On a senior day, a dig from Rutledge led to an emphatic kill from Chapron to end the set and the match, with the Lions winning the final game 25-20. 

The Lions combine a potent offense and defense in the sweep of UT Tyler.

TYLER­- The Texas A&M University-Commerce volleyball team picked up a sweep over UT Tyler on Friday evening, using efficient offense and stellar defense. The set scores were 25-21, 25-17, and 25-19. 

The win brings the Lions to 23-5 on the season, 15-2 in the Lone Star Conference and 8-1 in their division. The Patriots fall to 10-15 on the year, 5-12 in conference play, and 2-7 in the division. 

The teams will meet once again on Saturday as part of Senior Day in the final match of the regular season. The match will be at 2:00 pm at the Field House in Commerce. Tickets to Lion Volleyball home matches can be purchased by visiting WeAreLionsTix.com, by calling (903) 468-8756, or by visiting the Lion Sales & Service Box Office inside the Field House during business hours.

HEAD COACH CRAIG CASE AFTER THE MATCH

– Thoughts on the defensive performance: “I thought we played really well defensively. I think we used our defense to control the match, rather than our offense. In some matches, we know we are going to score a lot. But I thought tonight, we had a really good focus and execution on defense, and we allowed our defense to control the match.”

– On the play of Savannah Rutledge“She was locked in tonight. She made all the plays she normally makes, and then she made a couple of plays that no one has seen on film yet. She played with a really good focus tonight. I thought she was reading the ball really well and she had a good range. And even on plays where she was playing on the outside of her range, I thought she still had pretty good control and was creating good first contacts for us.”

– Thoughts on the offensive efficiency: “I thought the hitters worked really hard tonight. When they worked hard and played efficiently, I thought we were really effective. That’s how you put up numbers like we did. No one, in particular, stood out in terms of just one-hitter going off. But I thought in every situation when we had the opportunity to set somebody, we got a good set, and there were opportunities for kills for everyone. It was one of those matches where everyone was playing pretty well, so our setters were making good decisions. That’s a good way to play offense.” 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– Shelley Chapron (Houston – St. Pius X) led the team with 11 kills, hitting .688 in the match. She also had a team-high six blocks.

– Bina Njikam (Keller) added nine kills, while Destiny Greenwood (Fairfield, Calif.), Keziah Williams (Branson, Mo.), and Sydney Andersen (Placentia, Calif.) each had eight kills.

– Celeste Vela (Guadalajara, Mexico) led the offense with 26 assists, while Natalie Sarbeck (Cypress – Cy-Fair) added 14 assists.

– Savannah Rutledge (The Woodlands – College Park) led the team with 23 digs, including 15 digs in the second set alone.

– A&M-Commerce hit .330 in the match while holding UTT to a .078 percentage. The Lions had 14 or more kills in each set, including 20 kills in the final set. 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions got off to a hot start, taking four of the first five points, including consecutive kills from Njikam. Another 5-1 run gave the Lions a 13-5 lead at the midway mark of the set. The Patriots went on a run to cut the Lion lead to three points before the Lions again pushed their lead to eight. A late rally from UTT was to no avail, as the Lions won the set 25-21. 

It was an even start to the second set as the teams traded small rallies. The Lions then went on a 4-0 run to establish a 13-9 lead. After the Lions pushed their lead to five points, UTT battled back to cut the lead back to just one. A&M-Commerce then exploded, taking eight points in a row, capitalizing on multiple attack errors. The Lions won the second set 25-17. 

The Lions again came out firing to start the third set, quickly jumping out to an 8-4 lead. Tyler battled back to get within two points. The Lions slowly built their lead back up, winning the set 25-19 to sweep the match.

Lions hold on for 72-70 win over Central Baptist in a home opener.

COMMERCE – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team held off a late charge from Central Baptist College on Friday night to earn a 72-70 win in the home opener at the Field House. 

The Lions move to 1-2 overall on the season in the first of five straight home games on the schedule. A&M-Commerce will host Hardin-Simmons at 7:00 pm Monday. 

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

– The Lions shot 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the field, 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from three-point range, and 78.3 percent (18-of-23) from the free-throw line.

– Austin Grandstaff (Rockwall) led the Lions with 17 points, connecting on three three-point attempts and going 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.

– Deonta Terrell (Chicago, Ill.) had 15 points, six assists, three rebounds, and two steals.

– Deon Barrett (Lancaster) score 11 points to round out the Lions in double figures.

– Rodney Brown (Beaumont – West Brook) scored five points with four rebounds and tied his career-high with four blocked shots.

– Leo Lara (Santa Rosa) connected on three three-pointers and finished with nine points and a team-high 15 rebounds. 

HEAD COACH JARET VON ROSENBERG AFTER THE GAME

Overall thoughts on the game: “With a new team that started 0-2, you’ve just got to find a way to win. It wasn’t pretty, but we’ve just got to put 40 minutes together, and we’ll get there. When you look at the defensive performance in the first half, it was pretty incredible. That’s how we’re trying to play, but we couldn’t sustain it. To give up 21 offensive rebounds and still win a game is impressive. We’ve got to get better, and everyone in the locker room knows that. They’re not satisfied, but you do have to find a way to get a win, and we were able to do that tonight.” 

On conceding 21 offensive rebounds: “I think a lot of those offensive rebounds were not knowing what’s going on and watching the ball in flight. I thought our first-shot defense was pretty good the whole game. We gave up a couple late on out of bounds under the basket, but it’s still early in the season.” 

On the crowd for the home opener: “We had a great crowd tonight. We really appreciate the university and the community coming out. We’ve got a few home games coming up, we really need the support, and we’ll continue to play better basketball as the year goes on.” 

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Lions started the hotter of the two teams, limiting the Mustangs to one field goal in the first six and a half minutes. Terrell had seven points in the first six minutes of action, including a three-point play, which capped a 10-point rally and gave A&M-Commerce a 14-3 lead with 14:22 to play in the first half. 

The Mustangs battled back with seven straight points to cut the lead to 14-10, followed by the Lions roaring back with emphatic baskets. Josh Winbush (Lake Charles, La.) and Terrell had monster slams, and three-pointers rained in from Barrett, Lara twice, and Grandstaff. A second Winbush slam with just under six minutes to play had the Lions doubled up over the Mustangs, 34-17. CBC then held the Lions without a field goal for the final few minutes, but the hosts carried a 38-27 lead into the dressing room at halftime. 

A&M-Commerce pushed the lead back up to 13 points on the opening possession of the second half, but the Mustangs rushed back quickly to cut the margin back into single digits. Inside the first eight minutes of the half, the visitors had managed to slice away at the lead and cut it to four points at 52-48 with just under 12 minutes on the clock. 

Grandstaff scored nine of the game’s next 11 points over four minutes, including a four-point play, which gave the Lions a 61-50 advantage with 8:11 on the clock. That lead would expand to as many as 14 points when Terrell made a pair of free throws at the 4:41 mark to make it a 67-55 game. 

The Mustangs surged down the stretch, including a six-point trip down the floor, making both three-pointers with a loose ball foul called in the process. 

A&M-Commerce pulled out the win with key free throw shooting. In the final three minutes, Grandstaff hit both ends of a 1-and-1 situation, and Barrett made three of his last four free throws to clinch the first win of the year.