SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Texas A&M International is headed to the national stage after winning the Heartland Conference Tournament Championship. After beating Newman University on Friday evening, TAMIU never trailed as they went to beat Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) 86-67.

The Dustdevils never trailed against the UTPB Falcons as they stormed out to a 17-0 lead before the Falcons got on the board. Evan Mattison set the tone early as he scored 6 of the TAMIU points during the run.

The Falcons kept it interesting as they got within 6 points before the end of the 1st half as they trailed the Dustdevils 38-31.

In the second half, the Falcons made numerous runs against TAMIU before finally falling against the Heartland Conference Champion Dustdevils.

TAMIU was led by Ryan McLucas (guard) who scored a game high 19 points behind 70 percent shooting from the field and 3 for 5 from the 3-point line. TAMIU had 5 players in double figures with Faiive (13), Gomez (12), Payne (16), Silvie(13), and McLucas who scored 19.

The Dustdevils dominated the Falcons in field goal percentage with a 60 to 50 percent margin and made 47 percent of their three point attempts. Down the stretch, TAMIU's 31 free throws proved to be too much against the Falcons who only made 65 percent of their free throws.

"I am so proud of this group of guys" said Coach Shane Rinner after the TAMIU Dustdevils defeated UTPB in San Antonio. The team will now await the NCAA Division II Tournament Selection Show, scheduled for 9pm on Sunday, March 6th. The selection show will be aired online at

Tournament Notes: TAMIU never trailed during the tournament after manhandling Newman University 91-74 and never looked back after taking the 17-0 lead during the first half. Ryan McLucas was named the Heartland Conference Tournament MVP and was joined by Scottie Payne in the All-Tournament Team.