Facing the No. 7 team in the nation with a full roster was going to be a tall task for the UTPB men’s basketball team.
Entering the game with a shortened bench made the task that much tougher, though visiting West Texas A&M showed, during an eight-minute span in the first half, that it didn’t matter who the Falcons had on the floor, the Buffs were going to do what they wanted.
Qua Grant and Joel Murray each finished with 28 points to lead West Texas A&M to a 108-85 victory in Lone Star Conference play Thursday at the Falcon Dome.
Grant and Murray combined for 33 points in the first half, helping their team to 57-46 lead at the break.
John Brown added 14 points and Jon’il Fugett 13 in the victory as the Buffs improved to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in conference.
Fermandez Jones and Trevion Lamer each scored 20 points to lead the Falcons (6-4, 5-4), with Guinntez Grimes adding 16 and Jay Workman 10 in the loss.
“I thought our guys really responded well because we didn’t start well,” UTPB coach Josh Newman said. “We gave up nine offensive rebounds and you can’t do to a Top 5, Top 10 team in the country and they exploited that.
“Unfortunately for us, our early turnovers equaled points and offensive rebounds equaled points and you can’t do that against a quality team.”
Turnover were the Falcons’ Achilles heel, 24 of them, leading to 37 points for West Texas A&M, while UTPB scored just 17 points off turnovers on the night.
The Buffs wasted no time showcasing their offense as Grant and Murray combined for 14 points in the first three minutes of the game for a nine-point lead.
But the Falcons responded with an 11-2 run of their own to tie the game, 16-16, with 11:41 remaining in the first half.
West Texas A&M responded to the challenge by taking over the game for the next eight minutes, outscoring UTPB 23-4 during the run for a 39-20 lead with 8:02 remaining in the first half.
The Falcons cut into the deficit throughout the rest of the half, but still trailed by double digits at the break.
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