March 14, 2009

Courtesy of Angelo State Athletics

The Angelo State men’s basketball team (20-9) could not overcome a 12-point halftime deficit in falling to No. 7-ranked Southwest Baptist (25-4), 89-84, in the first round of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional in Warrensburg, Mo., Saturday afternoon.

The Rams, making their first appearance in the NCAA Championships in eight years, saw their season come to a close with a four-game losing streak. The Bearcats, the No. 7-ranked team in the country, advances to play Dallas Baptist, an 89-75 upset winner over Central Oklahoma in the first game of the day, at 4 p.m. Sunday.

SBU took control of the game at the onset, racing out to an 11-0 lead before Shavar Burch put ASU on the board with a free throw at the 17:08 mark. That seemed to settle the Rams down as they would cut the lead in half, 30-25, over the next 10 minutes.

That is when Southwest Baptist regained the momentum and it was a flagrant foul that started thing off. After stole the ball near midcourt and drove the lane for an apparent dunk, SBU’s John Tiemeyer fouled Burch and was called for the flagrant foul. Ryan Bennett took exception to the aggressiveness of Tiemeyer and charged him, and Bennett was called for a technical foul. After the foul shots were taken, SBU led 32-25 and scored 13 of the next 21 points to take a 45-33 lead at the half.

The Bearcats opened the second half with a 10-2 run to gain its largest lead of the game, 55-35, at the 15:22 mark and it looked as if the Rams were done. But ASU’s resiliency came through as the Rams went on a 21-4 run to cut the deficit to 59-56 with 10:46 remaining. But another technical, this time on Burch for taunting after a steal and layup, SBU regained the momentum as they went on a 10-2 run to push its margin back to double digits, 69-58, with 8:21 left. The Rams would make a game of it, cutting the deficit to four, 84-80, with one minute to go but could get no closer.

The Rams were led in scoring by Burch who had a game-high 27 points and was one of two ASU players to finish in double figures. Ryan Bennett, playing in his last collegiate game, finished with 20 points. D’Ante Harris led the Bearcats with 26 points and was one of five Bearcats to finish in double figures.